50 trucks laden with Tatmadaw reinforcements rolled into beleaguered Chin State in the week up to Dec. 22, causing many to anticipate a coordinated military attack over the Christmas period, a spokesperson for the Chin National Front (CNF) resistance group told DVB.
“Preparing offensive attacks when Christians are focusing on their religion is inhumane and an insult to the faith,” said the spokesperson.
85% of Chin State’s nearly half a million residents are Christian, according to the country’s 2014 census.
“[The junta’s actions] breach the rights of religious people during the Christmas and New Year period, as they are camping and burning down our churches. This is a direct insult to the Chin people and their beliefs,” CNF member Salai Htet Ni added.
Sources told DVB that troops were preparing to station near Wanmathu village in Mindat township, and had been observed erecting barricades on the morning of Dec. 22.
Many in Mindat believe, however, that during this coup year’s holiday season, the young of Chin State will most likely prioritize revolution over religion.
“There won’t be a normal Christmas for us because of the current situation. This year, Christmas won’t be a cheerful one—but it will be more meaningful than previously. We have to fight for our own freedom, and will fight for our own happiness,” a member of the Mindat CDF told DVB.
Since the coup, Tatmadaw troops have desecrated scores of religious sites across Burma. At least 30 churches have thus far been burned down by the Burmese military in Chin State alone, with reports of similar incidents in Kayah, Kayin, and Kachin State.