Chin Brotherhood Forces Seize Control Of Myanmar Junta’s FAB-250 and FAB-500 Bombs Manufacturing Plant, Junta Lost 40 Military Sites To Arakan Army

The Chin Brotherhood says it seized total control of Matupi town in southern Chin State after 20 days of fighting.

The Chin Brotherhood group initiated the Operation on June 9 to drive junta troops out of Myanmar’s poorest state, which shares borders with Bangladesh and India. The operation saw the participation of the Rakhine-based Arakan Army (AA) and the Yaw Army from the Magwe Region, further strengthening the group’s efforts.

The Matupi tactical command consisted of Light Infantry Battalion 304 and Infantry Battalion 140, plus troops from Infantry Battalion 274, based in Mindat.

“Matupi is in a strategic location connecting Rakhine with control in southern Chin State,” said Ko Yaw Marn, Mindat township people’s administration spokesman.

Arakan Army soldiers stand with an artillery piece after capturing the Myanmar junta’s Ta Ron Aing base in Chin state, Dec. 4, 2023.

“The regime built its tactical command in Matupi because it attaches great importance to the town. Suppose we can seize Mindat, Kanpetlet and advance into Yaw [aka Gangaw and Pakokku districts in Magwe Region]. In that case, we will also threaten the junta’s ordnance factories that manufacture FAB-250 and FAB-500 bombs for warplanes. The junta’s mechanism will also collapse if the ordnance factories collapse.”

The junta lost key military posts to rebel

One month into renewed hostilities between the military and ethnic rebels in western Myanmar’s Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, the Arakan Army claims to have seized dozens of junta camps, including major bases along the borders with India and Bangladesh.

The victories are piling up. Just this week, the Arakan Army, or AA, said it had seized more than 40 military sites, including Ta Ron Aing and Hnone Bu bases, located in Chin’s Paletwa township around 16 kilometers (10 miles) from India’s Mizoram state, and Done Nyo and Kha Htee Hla bases, in Rakhine’s Maungdaw township along the border with Bangladesh. 

Members of an ethnic armed group check a Myanmar army armored vehicle the group said it seized from an army outpost in Hsenwi township in Shan state, Nov. 24, 2023. (The Kokang online media via AP)

Defected army officers

A Myanmar army officer who defected and fled the country has detailed battlefield losses to rebels in the southern part of Chin state, with at least 50 soldiers killed and 200 badly wounded in 2021 by opposition fighters with homemade weapons.

Kaung Thu Win, a captain who defected in December, offered a rare first-hand account of intensified fighting in Chin, in Myanmar’s northwest, where the military junta has faced some of the fiercest armed resistance since it seized power a year ago.

He said he switched sides after hearing reports by colleagues of military abuses during clashes last year.

Speaking in northeastern India where he and his family have fled, the 32-year-old showed Reuters his national and military identity cards and detailed 12 incidents between May and December in which soldiers were killed or wounded by rebels.

He also showed Reuters some 30 classified army documents he said backed up his version of recent events in southern Chin state, where civilians opposed to the coup have taken up arms and are working with an established ethnic insurgent group.

He based his estimate of military casualties on that information.

The documents, stored on his mobile device, add new details of a major clash near the town of Mindat that have not previously been reported. They provide further evidence of a growing popular rebellion against Myanmar’s military rulers that has spread across the country.

Four other Myanmar defectors who reviewed some of the documents said they mirrored others they had seen in terms of language, format and descriptions of combat.

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