Mindat Town is located in the southern part of Chin State, with more than 30,000 inhabitants in the town. People are united in refusing the military coup and strongly protesting against the military. Led by the political youth activists, the people’s movement is so strong that it led to becoming one of the first town in the country that fights the military junta’s security forces with home-made Tumi rifle.
In defense of the town, people and democracy, Mindat’s people decided to form a civilian defense force and named it as Chin Defence Force – Mindat becoming the first civilian armed defense formation in Chin State.
With the group increasingly becoming strong and threatening to the junta forces in Mindat Township, the Myanmar junta has cut off all communication lines and geared up its offensive against the CDF – Mindat with enormous forces, weapons and airstrike.
CDF – Mindat, despite losing dozens of lives, has heavily inflicted upon Myanmar’s junta army by taking down hundreds of its soldiers, dozens of its vehicles – losing few battalions by far.
Chindwin has a telephone call with one of their leaders – Naing Tam, a tactical commander and a sniper for a short time.
Chindwin: Can you please tell us who you are and your portfolio at Chin Defence Force – Mindat (CDF – Mindat)?
NT: I am the tactical commander of the southern division. CDF – Mindat has 20 battalions with 270 personnel, with each battalion having its own commander. We have a few thousand for the reserve. And two-third of CDF – Mindat force is currently under my command.
Chindwin: How do you join the armed revolution following the coup d’état in February?
NT: I do not accept the military coup as I am very curious about politics like many of Generation Z and have been a strong supporter of the Chin political party at the last election. I decided to join the armed revolution not because of supporting the National League for Democracy (NLD), but for all political parties facing the threats and repression of the military regime. More importantly, the revolution gives us a great opportunity to rewrite a new Constitution for all citizens as the military itself has abolished its 2008 Constitution. That is one of the main reasons that make me proud of my decision to fight the military junta forces along with many like-minded people.
Chindwin: What do you do before you become a fighter for the people?
NT: I attended a medical university in Mandalay, which was unsuccessful, and I dropped out. I attempted to study abroad in Australia in civil engineering, but the cost at that time was too expensive and I decided to help run my family’s business. For nearly seven years, I was in the business that traded and sought oil fields in the Magway region. That was not that good. Finally, I came back to run a tourism business that is working for me.
Chidnwin: Who trained CDF – Mindat?
NT: That is quite sensitive. But honestly, we are trained by some Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) members.
Chindwin: We are told that you are a great sniper. What makes you decide to hold a sniper and become a good sniper?
NT: Just before the start of the armed revolution, Chin Defence Force – Mindat has only home-made Tumi rifle weapons – which are unmatched with the Myanmar junta in the real fighting. So, we realized that we have to seize weapons from the junta army. We did careful planning in the attack we carried out in April 2021. We destroyed the junta’s vehicle and seized large weapons, including two snipers, of which one is no longer useable. So, I decided to hold the other good one. I attempted to learn a lot to be a good shooter. The sniper we seized has only 500-meter range, and I need to make a lot of efforts for this.
Chindwin: Is it correct that you have taken down around 100 junta soldiers?
NT: Technically, yes – but I have more than 70 confirmed dead, while we do not confirm around 30 due to the parameter of the fighting area, and the CDF-Mindat is not able to do clearance operations. However, I know that they are well hit. Maybe, it could be more than that or around just a 100.
Chindwin: Are you proud of taking down the total of soldiers nearly equivalent to the current formation of the junta’s army battalion?
NT: Like other comrades, our aim is to take down all these terrorists and for this much has to be done. Yes, I am proud of this. We have to take down those bastards more in the coming days, weeks and months.
Chindwin: Can you please tell us a little bit more about your current situation of CDF – Mindat in general?
NT: CDF – Mindat is strongly determined to fight fascist Myanmar’s military regime, and now is the best opportunity to unite all people of Myanmar to defeat the regime once and for all. So, in response to your questions, of course, yes – we struggle a lot in the jungle and have to endure the cold that has a minus in temperature at night. Not just CDF – Mindat comrades, our people have to flee their villages at night when the junta forces approach their villages, with many reaching the mountain’s peak at this brutally cold weather. Unless the villagers are fleeing the villages, they will be brutally murdered and maybe, burned alive.
As we need a lot of support and help in our resolve to fight the military junta, more than 40,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced People) need equal help and support. United Nations should not be quiet and do something to do such as establishing a humanitarian centre in the southern Chin State. We feel like we are totally ignored by the international community.
The end – the line ended as Mr Naing Tam stays where the telephone line is not stable.