Bomb falls on banks of river Tiau
The aerial attack by the Burmese junta on the Victoria Camp of the Chin National Front (CNF) is set to escalate the ongoing conflict in Myanmar the impact of which is going to be felt across the Indian side of borders, especially in Mizoram.
The attack was carried out at 3:30 pm on December 10 using fighter jets by the Myanmar junta, killing at least five cadres of the CNF and destroying the west wing of the camp which is close to the border outpost number 26 on the Indian side of the border. This is the second air attack on the Victoria camp in less than three months. A similar attack was carried out by the Burmese military junta on November 7 which did not result in any major damage to the camp. Four rounds of attacks were carried out in November.
The Victoria camp is the headquarter of the CNF and is the main base from where operations are planned and executed against the Burmese military. It is also a major training center for all cadres of the CNF and also other Chin Defence Forces (CDFs). In fact, the headquarter of the Chinland Joint Defence Committee (CJDC) which is composed of 18 CDFs is also located within the premises of the Victoria camp.
On Tuesday (January 10) afternoon, five rounds of air attacks were carried out, the sounds of which sent bordering villagers and Burmese refugees sheltered close to the border around Farkawn scampering for cover. One of the four bombs which were dropped by the Burmese jets fell on the Indian side of the border between Farkwan and river Tiau which is in close proximity to the Victoria camp. Though no damage was reported on the villages in the Indian side of the border, the fear of bombs dropping on the Indian side of the border kept most people restive in anticipation of the worst to come.
Senior border security officials said that “there was no need to panic,” and that the police are investigating the incident. The exact bomb site is on the banks of river Tiau and it is on the “no man’s land” said a senior police official.
In the attack a second lieutenant of the CNF was killed along with three other administrative staff which included two women. Of the four bombs, two exploded inside the camp premises leading to the casualties of some of the cadres. No injuries were reported among family members of the CNF rebels and also refugees who stay within the premises of the Victoria Camp called the “Family Lane.”
The Interim Chin National Consultative Council (ICNCC) has come out to “strongly condemn” the Burmese military action. “Such an aerial bombardment is not only an inhumane act,” said a statement of the ICNCC which was issued late last evening. Echoing the sentiments across the Chin communities Salai Issac Chen who is a member of the Council termed the Military junta’s action as a reflection of its attitude of “blatantly turning a blind eye to the opinions and wishes of the entire ethnic population, including the Chin people.”
The ICNCC questioned the Burmese military council’s desire to find a solution through political means, given that the aerial attacks would make the various communities that inhabit the Chin state “more determined to root out the military council.” “The aerial attacks on Chin country, including Camp Victoria, where the headquarters of the Chin National Force (CNF) is located, is a very politically incorrect act. Racially, it will deepen the emotional wounds that are difficult to heal,” the ICNCC statement said, adding “Chin people will continue to resist the military council’s oppressive attacks.”
While CNF spokesperson Salai Htet Ni could not be contacted for his comments, other officers in the camp could be contacted for an update. From the initial interaction it is given to understand that the CNF was aware of “a planned attack” by the military junta, before two months. They were prepared for the attack which is said to be the reason why there were a lesser number of casualties.
Soon after the attack the Peoples’ Defence Force (PDF) Hakka Council warned that it takes no guarantee for the safety of the voters and candidates for the proposed general elections which is slated to be held sometime between July-August this year. The state of emergency which was imposed following the February 2021 coup d’etat and extended twice is set to end next month and the military administration – the State Administration Council (SAC) – will give way for a new set up to take over.
Burmese military junta under the leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has signaled that the regime was preparing to move forward with its election plans by calling for the compilation of “correct data” on voters lists. In his speech made while on January 4 as part of the 75th anniversary of Myanmar’s independence Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing termed the proposed election “as an important step toward what the military establishment refers to as “the genuine, discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system.”
However, the elections have been already dismissed as “sham” by the representatives of the National Unity Government (NUG) and groups leading the revival of democracy in Myanmar. Yesterday’s bombing of the Victoria Camp has renewed calls for “boycott of the elections and uniting against the military.”
Chairman of the United States Chin Coalition (USCC) Dr Ro Ding said the bombings of the Victoria Camp is “a clear sign of desperation on the part of the military that it is losing the battle.” He termed the military action as “brutal and inhuman” and called on the Chin people to unite and resist the military action by any ways and means. The USCC has also sent out appeals to the international community and the United Nations to intervene.