The military sending huge numbers of reinforcements to pacify southern Chin State due to mounting tensions with the Arakan Army (AA), an official from the Chin State Joint Defense Committee (South) CJDC has claimed.
The SAC is alleged to have dispatched between 800 to 1,000 troops in an attempt to gain control of territory encompassing the southern townships of Mindat, Matupi, and Paletwa, with soldiers launching a two-fronted offensive in Mindat-Kyaukhtu and Paletwa.
The CJDC said that the military has centered its focus on the south of Chin State, and weakened its offensive against Hakha and Falam in the north, diverting troops in preparation for a potential outbreak of hostilities with the AA.
The military is said to have deployed its entire 298 Battalion in the Paletwa region, and has stationed other troops in the Kan Daung area near Sami in Mindat district. The group said that they believed the build-up was also aimed at preventing local Chinland Defense Force factions from breaking the military’s food and ammunition supply lines and intercepting materiel.
“There are only six CDF factions in the south. When we consider the number of soldiers that have entered the area, it will now be very difficult for the CDF to resist. The south is harder to defend than the north, and fighting will intensify, likely leading to higher civilian casualties,” the official said.
An estimated 300 soldiers traveling in a convoy of 80 military vehicles and two armored trucks left Mindat for Matupi on March 25, carrying supplies to battalions camped in the south of Chin.
The Chinland Defense Force (CDF) says it has been forced to abandon its headquarters in Kanpetlet township as a result of the massive increase in military presence.
Local CDF factions told DVB that fighting has resumed in all nine of Chin’s townships save Tedim, and that they believed the junta was attempting to forcibly gain control of the entire state.
The resistance group said it had recently chosen not to fight back against troops in consideration of local people, fearing that the military will turn its rockets on civilian towns and villages as it has done elsewhere across the country.
Tensions between the AA and the military have increased since the end of last year when skirmishes in the northern Rakhine township of Maungdaw threatened a ceasefire made between the groups in November 2000.
The parallel National Unity Government (NUG) on March 24 made overtures to the EAO, requesting that it hold informal talks with the aim of overthrowing the military and establishing a genuine federal democratic government.