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Myanmar town near India border sees exodus as thousands flee fighting By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – People fleeing fighting between the junta and anti-junta groups in northern Myanmar walk through Chin State in Myanmar on May 31, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

(Reuters) – Most of the population of a Myanmar town near the Indian border have fled after buildings were set ablaze by artillery amid fighting between militia forces opposed to military rule and the army, according to residents and media reports.

A community leader stated that about 10,000 people live in Thantlang, Chin State. However, most fled to find shelter in India and other areas.

Myanmar is in chaos since the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy veteran, was overthrown on February 1. This sparked nationwide anger and protests as well as strikes, demonstrations, and even the formation of an anti-junta militia.

About 20 houses were set on fire by militia forces last weekend. Social media photos showed buildings in flames.

The Myanmar Now news portal reports that soldiers shot and killed a Christian pastor trying to put out a fire. However, state media denied the claim.

Global New Light of Myanmar reported that the funeral of the pastor was under investigation. They claimed soldiers were attacked by more than 100 “terrorists”, and they exchanged fire.

Salai Thang said that militia fighters overran an army base in September. The military responded by air strikes. Salai Thang is a community leader who claimed that four civilians were killed and fifteen others had been wounded during recent weeks.

According to Chin Defence Force militia, 30 soldiers have been killed.

Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the claims. A military spokesperson did not respond to calls asking for comment.

A family member of the deceased pastor said that the majority of people fled the area, but some households remained. This included about 20 children living in the orphanage managed by the pastor.

Thomas Andrews (UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar), said this in a tweet on Tuesday.

The National Unity Government was a shadowy underground government set up to oppose the military. It declared an uprising in September 7th and called upon the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) to strike the junta.

PDFs have attempted to overthrow the army’s well-equipped armies, often resulting in civilians being forced to flee and caught up in the crossfire.

Salai Thang, a community leader said that he is deeply concerned for the thousands of displaced persons who are living in villages nearby and in India’s Mizoram states.

Salai Thang said via telephone that refugees now face severe difficulties in finding food and shelter.

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