The Myanmar junta is preparing to launch airstrikes against the Chin National Front in the country’s western Chin state, a spokesperson for the ethnic armed organization told Radio Free Asia, citing leaked internal military documents.
According to the documents, which the Chin National Front, or CNF, acquired earlier this month, the airstrike is intended to target the organization’s headquarters on Mt. Victoria, in Thantlang township.
“We cannot reveal where we got this intelligence information, but we are preparing the best we can for the defense against this airstrike,” CNF spokesperson Salai Htet Ni told RFA’s Burmese Service.
He said the documents revealed that churches, hospitals, clinics and schools are also on the list of possible targets.
News of the plans frightened people living in the area, a civilian living near Mt. Victoria told RFA.
“We are the only village near that mountain,” he said. “If they also target the village, we could be hit hard.”
Thant Zin, the junta’s spokesperson for Chin state, has not responded to the CNF’s claims that the military is preparing to launch airstrikes in region.
The military only launches airstrikes when absolutely necessary, said Thein Tun Oo, executive director of Thaenaga Institute for Strategic Studies, a pro-military think tank formed with former military officers.
“The position is the same for all armed organizations in the country. If they view something as detrimental for their security, they take military action. This is a very normal path,” he said.
“But I am suspicious that such an important decision to launch an airstrike has been leaked to the outside. It is hard to say whether their information is right or wrong.”
Junta forces last month killed 63 people in Kachin state, many of them members of the Kachin Independence Organization, when they bombed a concert in what is believed to be the bloodiest single airstrike in Myanmar since last year’s military coup.
Translated by Ye K.M. Maung. Written in English by Eugene Whong.