Thousands flee fighting in Chin state to India

At least 5,500 people have fled to the Indian state of Mizoram. The junta has bombed about twenty houses and killed a Baptist pastor. Emergency shelters made of metal sheets and tarpaulins have been set up for the displaced.


Yangon (AsiaNews) - Following armed clashes between ethnic militias and Myanmar's military junta, thousands of people have fled from Chin State and crossed the border into India. About 10,000 people live in Thantlang under normal conditions, but in recent days at least 5,500 have fled to the Indian state of Mizoram.

During the latest fighting at least 20 houses were set on fire in the area. According to Myanmar Now, soldiers also shot a Baptist pastor who was trying to put out the flames. The pro-government Global New Light of Myanmar disputed the report, saying the cleric's death was being investigated. A relative of the pastor told Reuters that only a few families and about 20 children in an orphanage remained in Thantlang. 

"Th"The murder of a Baptist minister and bombing of homes in Thantlang, Chin State are the latest examples of the living hell being delivered daily by junta forces against the people of Myanmar," Thomas Andrews, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a message on Twitter.

After the National Unity Government called on the people to rise up against the military junta's rule, there has been an upsurge in clashes across the country. Attempts by militias to attack soldiers of the Tatmadaw (the Burmese army) has often led to retaliation against civilians. Last February 1st, in a coup d'état, the military put an end to the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy.

Salai Thang, head of the Thantlang community, said he was concerned about the displaced people. NGOs in Mizoram reported that most of the refugees arrived in India by crossing the Tiau River by boat. At the moment, the Burmese people who crossed the border are in temporary shelters made of sheets and tarpaulins, explained Young Mizo Association cooperators.

 

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