10/30/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – In the latest major offensive against the town of Thantlang in the predominantly Christian Chin state, the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) launched a few rounds of incendiary rockets and lit more than 100 houses on fire along with three Christian buildings.
Beginning at 11 am on October 29, the Tatmadaw began to fire heavy artillery into the town from the nearby military base. According to Chinland Defense Force (CDF), a local armed group, the fire occurred following gunshots that killed one of the Tatmadaw soldiers by CDF, as the soldier was breaking into houses and looting properties earlier.
One CDF member told the Chinland Post, “We are unsure about how the fire started … But we assume that they deliberately burn down houses after they fired artillery shells as our CDF members in town retreated to avoid artillery shells.”
Once home to nearly 10,000 residents, Thantlang now sits empty with the majority already fled to seek shelter. The absence of villagers means that the town will soon be consumed with fire.
Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) reports that several religious buildings, including Church on the Rock, Presbyterian Church, and a building attached to the Thantlang Baptist Church, the largest congregation in town, have also caught fire. The first rockets to be fired into the town landed at the entrances to the Thantlang Baptist Church. There are also reports that soldiers have come out on the streets and deliberately torched houses in different locations.
CHRO reiterates its call to the U.N. Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to address the situation in Chin State. Salai Za Uk Ling from CHRO said, “The extensive destruction of civilian property, carried out wantonly and not justified by any military necessity represent war crimes and grave breaches of international humanitarian law.”
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