People are fleeing to India in the face of Myanmar conflict
In one part of Myanmar, the army is engaged in a fierce battle with the anti-junta government. People are fleeing their homes in this situation. Meanwhile, about five and a half thousand people have crossed the border and taken refuge in India, according to international media.
A BBC report on Thursday said clashes between local militias and the army had been raging for several days in the town of Thantlong in Myanmar’s western Shin state, bordering India. There have also been shootings in army-militia clashes. A Christian priest has been reported dead in the city after being shot by soldiers. The building where he was staying at that time was set on fire. The soldiers shot the priest shortly after he left the burning building.
In the past few days, at least 20 houses have been set on fire in the local town of Thantlong, according to Reuters.
Residents of Thantlang are worried about the shooting and arson. Fearing for their lives, they are crossing the border into India. An organization called the Thantlong Placement Affairs Committee helps local displaced people. The group’s spokeswoman Salai Lian told the BBC: “Troops are firing indiscriminately in the city. Homes are being set on fire. For these reasons, the city dwellers have started fleeing their homes to save their lives. ‘
“All the residents of Thantlong town have become refugees,” a local resident told Myanmar Nao. Only government officials and soldiers are stationed in the city.
Mizoram is a state in northeastern India, next to the Shin state of Myanmar. Citing civil society in the Indian state, Reuters reported that about 5,000 people had sought refuge in two districts of Mizoram from Myanmar in the past week.
Explaining the situation, UN special envoy Thomas Andrew said, “The city of Thantlong has turned into hell.”
The army seized power in a bloodless coup on February 1. Since then, there have been protests and military crackdowns across Myanmar.
The rights group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, said more than a thousand protesters had been killed in the country’s crackdown on the junta. More than 6,000 women and men, including artists, journalists and teachers, have been detained by the junta in the country.
After overthrowing the NLD government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and seizing power, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has promised to hold early national elections in Myanmar. But last August, he announced himself as Myanmar’s prime minister. At the same time, Min Aung Hlaing has promised to hold elections in the country by August 2023. With this, the term of military rule in Myanmar has been extended for another two years.
Meanwhile, millions of people in Myanmar have been displaced by post-military violence. In June, six months after the coup, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report that some 230,000 people had been displaced in Myanmar since the military coup. These displaced people urgently need humanitarian assistance.