Myanmar Flash Update: Escalation of Conflict in the Northwest (As of 3 November 2021)
• Fighting in the northwest between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and the Chinland Defence Force in Chin State and the local People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) in Magway and Sagaing regions has recently escalated.
• In Chin State, more than 160 houses, two churches and an NGO office in Thantlang Town were reportedly burnt down on 29 October.
• Around 37,000 people, including women and children, have been newly displaced by fighting which started in May in the northwest, in addition to around 7,600 people previously displaced by earlier conflict between the Arakan Army (AA) and the MAF in Paletwa, Chin State, since December 2019.
The humanitarian, human rights and security situation in Chin State, as well as in neighbouring Magway and Sagaing regions, is deteriorating with intensified armed clashes reported between the MAF and local PDFs. Displacement has increased as well as rights violations and causalities. In Chin State, more than 160 houses, two churches and an NGO office in Thantlang Town were reportedly burnt down on 29 October, in addition to other townships facing similar destruction of property since August. Most residents had already fled in late September in anticipation of the conflict. However, UNICEF is concerned about the safety of children who are thought to remain in Thantlang Town and is calling for immediate efforts to ensure the safety of these children, and of all children impacted by the conflict.
In total, around 37,000 people, including women and children, have now been displaced in the northwest since the clashes started in May. This includes at least 18,300 people who have been displaced across several townships in Chin State. Of those people, more than 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are sheltering in Thantlang Township in Chin State next to the Indian border. The newly displaced people in Chin State are in addition to some 7,600 people who remain displaced since December 2019 in Paletwa in southern Chin due to the conflict between the AA and the MAF. About 15,000 people have reportedly crossed the border into India since the military takeover on 1 February.
The total number of displaced people in Sagaing and Magway regions remains mostly unchanged for the last two weeks as some have returned to their areas of origin, while others have been newly displaced. Around 7,000 people remain in the displacement sites in Kale, Kani, Khin-U and Mingin townships in Sagaing Region and around 12,300 remain in the displacement sites in Gangaw, Pauk and Saw townships in Magway Region.