With a loaded cartridge holder strapped to her back and a shotgun gripped tightly in her hands, Rose Lalhmanhaih looks far older than her 17 years. Just two years ago, she was studying at school; now she is a rebel soldier on the frontlineof Myanmar’s revolutionary war. Only her nails, flecked with a bright purple polish, hint at the girl she once was.
Crouching behind sandbags and holding binoculars, Lalhmanhaih scans the dense scrub of the surrounding valley, then speaks decisively into her walkie talkie. “Clear … clear,” she says. A garrison of the Myanmar military lies only five miles away and an exchange of fire rings out now and then. But for today at least, the soldiers of the brutal junta regime will leave the tiny village of Haimual in Chin state in peace.
In February 2021 Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, seized power in a coup d’etat, overthrowing the civilian government and imprisoning its leader, Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. As the Tatmadaw began ruthlessly consolidating power, cracking down on political opponents and killing protesters, an armed insurgency, the People’s Defence Force (PDF), rose up fighting for democracy to be restored. There are about 60,000 PDF soldiers across the country, often fighting alongside other ethnic armies, and they are said to control around half the territory.
Source: The Guardian