‘We are struggling to live another day’ — Statement by Secretary-1 of the Mindat People’s Administration

October 29th, 2021  •  Category Statements  •  165 Views

Secretary-1 of the Mindat People’s Association gave this statement via video link during SAC-Ms expert panel discussion on 29 October 2021.

 

First of all, I would like to say thank you for the people around the world who are listening attentively to what I am talking about. 

Because I believe that you are listening with interest to this event with a humanitarian mindset for our country, Myanmar.

I am Secretary 1 of Mindat People’s Administration.

As you all know, the military junta has used force to launch a coup d’état on 1st February. Since then, the People of Mindat have stood strongly with all the people of Myanmar across the country.

We have demonstrated peacefully that we do not like the military coup since 8th February in Mindat. It was very peaceful and orderly.

But military junta didn’t care about the will of people who were peacefully demonstrating and cracked down on the people who were on strike with violence while going against international norms.  

At the same time, you must have seen or read in the news about Myanmar that military junta has arbitrarily arrested, tortured and killed civil servants including medical professionals for their Civil Disobedience Movement which could stop the military administrative mechanism. 

Therefore, when we needed security for people and CDM civil servants in Mindat Township, we had to form People Defense Forces to protect our Chin people.

Then we continued to form Mindat People’s Administration since the administrative power had been destroyed by the military coup. 

When the terrorist military junta started their acts of violence and crack down by shooting and killing civilians, we had no other choice but to defend ourselves. For example, it is public knowledge that nearly 100 souls were killed in the violent crackdowns of the military in Hlaing Thar Yar Township in Yangon and Kalay Township in northern Chin State.

You can find out if you look at news media coverages. 

In our town of Mindat, SAC arrested 7 strike leaders and activists on 24th April 2021 which is 78th day of peaceful public protest movement and started shooting at the people. Then, in a situation where we didn’t have any other choice, in the same evening where military started shooting at the population, we started our revolution with Chin traditional homemade simple hunting rifles.

On the third day of revolution, the military junta conducted a strong offensive operation deploying 200 soldiers and artillery. While they were running the military offensive, we assumed that they were also using chemical weapons and some of our members of CDF Mindat were injured.

Since fighting was happening in Mindat, more troops and weapons were sent to Light Infantry Battalion 274 based inside Mindat Township. But SAC forces lost when they started to fight with our Mindat People Defence Forces.

On 15th April, SAC used air strikes including a helicopter to drop three bombs and shelled the town resulting in houses and religious buildings being destroyed. We have photo evidence of these attacks. 

There has been media coverage about the destruction of our town. While SAC was attacking Mindat to capture it, they had detained people who were outside of Mindat, used the arrested civilians as human shields and they were brutal and inhuman in their efforts to capture Mindat.

Among 20 people of Mindat, detained and used as human shields by SAC troops, there was a pregnant woman. So, we didn’t want to harm our own people and we had no other way but to withdraw from Mindat.

People of Mindat came along with us for fear of torture under SAC. SAC troops started immediately to run patrols and destroyed the houses, shooting randomly once they were inside Mindat. It was like hell for those who could not run away and remained in town and faced horrible fears.

The military also tried to rape a 15-year old girl. We tried to find out who she is to collect evidence but the survivor didn’t want to speak up so the news didn’t make it widely to the media.

These are some of the starting acts of cruel violence of SAC. While we were withdrawing from Mindat to avoid the fighting, SAC had surrounded the displaced people and CDF from three sides and attacked while using what we considered as chemical weapons in artillery fire.

When they shelled us with chemical weapons, two of Mindat CDP fighters lost consciousness, became dizzy, had nausea and were vomiting after being exposed to the fumes of the weapon. They were also feeling physically weak. That’s what we have examined and found out that time.

Because of the military offensive of SAC, over 15,000 people living in Mindat had been displaced in villages in the Mindat Township areas as IDPs for over 6 months now.

Mindat Township has a population of  over 50,000 and rural communities now have difficulties to receive and feed the IDPs because SAC is conducting four cuts and making it difficult to buy food supplies. 

The biggest challenge for over 50,000 people of Mindat is the rice scarcity. SAC has blocked access roads so it is very difficult to bring rice to town and rice merchants are no longer coming to Mindat so even if we have the money to pay for it, we cannot buy rice. 

Since there is a severe shortage of rice, we are substituting rice with other crops like Finger Millet but there have been 33 people who died due to malnutrition and lack of medical supplies. If SAC continues with their four cuts, the death toll in Mindat will increase due to lack of food and medical supplies.

In addition to cutting supplies into Mindat Township, since 9th October, SAC has started military offensive and sent more troops from Mindat to Matupi. Along Mindat – Matupi road, SAC troops have stopped and looted 6 big villages and other smaller villages to seize their livestock like chicken and pigs and other possession of the villagers so local people have lost whatever little food supplies they had.

The worse thing that SAC soldiers did was destroying all the paddy and other food supplies that they could not carry by pouring gasoline or diesel on them and killing pigs, chickens and pythons so they cannot be used for consumption. It is inhumane.

SAC always denies such acts and say these acts are committed by their foot soldiers but we got information that in this column of military deployment from Mindat to Matupi, there were senior officers. They ignore the rules of engagement of war and turn a blind eye to their soldiers torturing innocent civilians.

SAC military officers who are conducting the military offensive in Mindat, Chin State, have a lot of responsibility. They will be held accountable one day.

Lastly, I would like to say that SAC is openly committing human rights violations to the people of Mindat and the people of Myanmar. They are using excessive forces in military operations to crush local People Defence Forces.

Moreover, they are conducting four cuts against innocent civilians from Mindat who have nothing to do with the fighting and they are blocking food supplies coming from international assistance to reach the IDPs who are running for their lives in the jungle.

Now, the lives of millions of populations in Myanmar including people of Mindat are in great danger. That is all due to the acts of SAC.

For new young generations of our country, we cannot think at all about education or economy or prevention of Covid-19. 

We are struggling to live another day. So I would like to request the world not to ignore us and to help us.  Thank you very much indeed for this opportunity to speak here.