Airstrike on a village in Falam Township, Chin State; KNU says it will cooperate with all organizations to end the military rule

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 12 Scenes

MoeMaKa, August 13, 2023

Airstrike on a village in Falam Township, Chin State; KNU says it will cooperate with all organizations to end the military rule


On August 12, the military council attacked Ramthlo Village on the Falam-Hakha road in Falam Township, Chin State. The roofs of the Christian church in Ramthlo Village were blown open and damaged, which can be seen in news photos.


After the Chin National Army (CNA) and joint forces attacked the Infantry Battalion – 268 of the military council based in Falam, which can be said to be in the middle of Chin State, the military council launched an airstrike on Ramthlo Village in retaliation at around 1 am on August 12. The Chin ethnic news agencies reported that about 7 civilians were injured in the air attack by the military council. A news article reported that 6 soldiers of the military council battalion were killed, but there was no independent confirmation.


Falam is the second largest city after Hakha in Chin State, and it was the headquarters of Chin Special Division during the Fasapala period. During the period after the military coup, it was the city on the route through which military council troops transport food and reinforcement to Hakha and Thantlang, where fighting took place with many casualties from the military council side. In the past few months, there has been no fighting, and now, this is a battle that has taken place after that.


According to reports, it is included in the area where the Chin ethnic armed group CNF/CNA, which existed before the military takeover, is active, and there are also local defense forces. According to a report on social media, the local defense forces in Falam Township were not aware of the CNF/CNA attack on the military council battalion.


The military council side responded with heavy artillery firing and air strikes into Ramthlo Village on the Falam-Hakha Road. According to the news photos, a prominent church in the village was targeted and destroyed.


Christian churches in the villages of Chin State are a place where the villagers gather not only for religious events, but also for social events and public ceremonies. It can be concluded that the military council attacked and destroyed the village’s church as a target in retaliation for the defense forces attacking them.


This incident clearly shows that the military council does not follow the international military code of conduct that prohibits attacks on religious buildings, health care facilities, and schools.


Many churches in the Karenni area were attacked by airstrikes and burned down, and churches in the villages of Khin-U and Taze Townships, where Portuguese tribes live in Sagaing Division, were also burned down last year. The military council may have attacked these churches and monasteries on the suspicion that the armed groups of the People’s Defense Forces are using them for gathering and camping, but in reality, the attack and destruction of religious buildings are just retaliatory actions of taking hostages and wanting to achieve military advantages.


Another news topic for today is that August 12 is the day Karen national leader Saw Ba Oo Kyi died, and it is the day designated as Karen Martyr’s Day. In a congratulatory message sent on Karen Martyr’s Day, KNU President Padoh Kwe Htoo Win said that he will cooperate with all community-based organizations, including ethnic armed groups and democratic forces that are fighting the military dictatorship, to put an end to the military dictatorship and its activities.


The analysis that there is still no compact unity among those who are fighting for reform, including the Karen ethnic group, which reflects the current situation, is also included in the message. In the current situation, even among Karen armed organizations, there are generally at least 5 different armed groups, and if we take other ethnic armed groups into account, we will see that there are different opinions regarding the direction and practical actions of eliminating the military dictatorship.


KNU President Padoh Kwe Htoo Win’s comments reflect KNU’s future goals as well as the current situation.