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Chin National Front

Insurgency Overview

The Chin National Front (CNF) is a political party in Myanmar that seeks self-determination for the Chin people alongside democracy and federalism in Myanmar as a whole. Their armed wing, the Chin National Army (CNA), has over 4,500 soldiers and 10,000 auxiliaries, it is the largest organization in the Chin resistance movement. The CNF had formerly signed ceasefire agreements with the Myanmar government in 2012, but since the 2021 military coup, the CNF/CNA has been at war with the military junta. Chin state, the region of the country where the Chin people are located, is in the western part of Myanmar, on the border with India. The CNF/CNA is based at a place called Camp Victoria. (1,2)

History and Foundations

The Chin people number about 500,000, living in the mountainous northwestern part of Myanmar. Despite commonly being grouped, the Chin encompass multiple different ethnic and linguistic groups, with at least six different groups existing and 20 mutually unintelligible languages being spoken between the groups. (3)

The CNF was formed on 20 March 1988 in Mizoram, an Indian state on the Myanmar border. A few months later, in August 1988, a massive uprising took place in Myanmar in opposition to the military dictatorship. This uprising caused many displaced peoples to flee from Myanmar to the Mizoram state of India (which borders Chin state), and Chin refugees began to join the CNF, swelling its numbers. (3)

For most of its history before the current civil war, the CNA/CNF was ineffective owing to its small numbers and the comparative might of the Tatmadaw. Before the civil war militant activity was limited to small-scale skirmishes and government reprisals made CNA/CNF recruitment an unattractive prospect for many. (3)

Ideology and Objectives

The CNF believes in self-determination for the Chin people and wants Myanmar to become a democratic country with a federal government, similar to how Germany or the United States functions. (1)

Flag of the Chin National Front

Approach to Resistance and Capabilities

The CNF's military wing, the CNA, conducts guerrilla operations against the Myanmar military junta. The CNA is trained at Camp Victoria in Chin State, with reports indicating the existence of various units trained in different disciplines such as urban and guerilla warfare. (2)

The CNA is a fairly complex militia; they have enough members to do R&R (rest and recuperation) rotations after units suffer casualties. They wear uniforms which are either olive drab green or digital jungle camouflage. They also possess HUMINT resources in the form of agents who live in surrounding villages and update the CNA with information about junta troop movements. (2)

The mountainous jungle terrain of the Chin State makes logistics difficult for large vehicles to pass through, so the CNA makes use of Chinese-made motorbikes to transport troops, ammunition, and supplies enabling rapid supply of its units. The CNA is primarily armed with small arms such as shotguns that were originally used for hunting birds and Soviet-style rifles that were either smuggled or taken from junta forces. They also use homemade rifles and improvised explosive devices. However, they face ammunition shortages for all types of weapons, with Project Maje noting that these shortages impact the CNA’s ability to accept everyone who is willing to volunteer for the group. (4,2,5)

The CNF adheres to the Geneva Military Code of Conduct and is a signatory to the Geneva Call, which is a document that non-state actors and de facto powers sign to adhere to human rights standards. They adhere to the Ottawa Convention, which seeks to eliminate the use of landmines. Landmines have caused over 1,000 casualties in Myanmar so far, although Chin State has seen a comparatively low share of this violence. Landmines have been used by both junta and anti-junta forces in the civil war, although it's unclear if the CNF has ever used them. (1,6,7)

Relations and Alliances

The CNF/CNA is a part of the Chinland Joint Defense Committee and is broadly allied with other groups fighting the military junta in Myanmar. The CNA and the Chinland Defense Forces, another Chin ethnic militia, are trained at Camp Victoria in Chin State (sometimes referred to as Chinland). In 2021 the CNF's vice chairman, Suikar, said that the National Unity Government, a democratic coalition in opposition to the junta, was leading the CNF. However, American media outlet CNN reported that the National Unity Government had very little command and control over the armed groups that pledged allegiance to it. (4,2)

Works Cited

(1) - Chin National Front. Welcome to Chinland [Internet]. Internet Archive; 2016 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from: R. 

(2) - Inside the Resistance Camps in Myanmar [Internet]. The Diplomat; 2023 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from: S. 

(3) - Inside the Myanmar mountain camp where rebels train to fight the junta [Internet]. CNN. CNN; 2021 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from:

(4) - Human Rights Watch. We Are Like Forgotten People [Internet]. Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch; 2009 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from:

(5) - Project Maje. Burma: Project Maje: Under the Hornbill Flag: Chin State Resistance Continues [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 May 5]. Available from:

(6) - Reuters. Casualties from Myanmar landmines jump to over 1,000 last year, says UNICEF [Internet]. Reuters. Reuters; 2024 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from:

(7) - Milko V, Rising D. “I just want my legs back”: Myanmar landmine casualties soar [Internet]. AP News. The Associated Press; 2023 [cited 2024 Apr 26]. Available from:


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