A photo essay by Alessandro de Pascale and Theo Guzman
We are in Camp Victoria, the headquarters of the Chin National Army (CNA), which controls 70% of the territory of Chin State. This long-established and largest installation is located on the banks of the Tiau River, on the border between the eastern Indian state of Mizoram and western Myanmar. Inside, there are numerous structures and buildings stretching for tens of kilometres, connected by several arteries (steep, unpaved mountain passes and mud tracks), with English road signs and street lamps powered by solar panels.
Even here, in this large and sprawling military camp, there is a lack of both electricity (diesel generators are used) and running water (tanks for collecting it are everywhere). Inside Camp Victoria, most of the soldiers are very young. Volunteers who have joined the ranks of the Chin National Army (CNA) from the surrounding hills or other parts of the country have been training in a camp set up for the purpose. There are even a few deserters, fleeing the violence of the Tatmadaw regular army coup plotters and the oppression of the military junta that took power in a coup on 1 February 2021.
On the cover: A soldier of the Chin National Army (CNA), talking about the ongoing civil war. Photo by A. De Pascale
In the following photos:
1) A young Chin National Army soldier at a checkpoint at Camp Victoria base.
2) One of several checkpoints at Camp Victoria
3) NAC rebels entering a dormitory barracks
4) A soldier in a dormitory
5) A soldier shows us the tailor shop where Chin National Army uniforms are made.
6) A NAC soldier talking about the ongoing civil war
7) A defector from the ruling Burmese army in Myanmar who fled the capital and ended up in Camp Victoria.
8) A female guerrilla preparing food
9) A rebel girl eats a meal
10) Refuelling a motorcycle using a crank pump inserted into a barrel of fuel
11) A fire brigade vehicle parked in front of one of the base buildings. The risk of bombardment by the junta is constant, so makeshift anti-aircraft shelters are built everywhere.
Photos were taken in Chin State, Myanmar, in June 2023
To learn more, read our Myanmar conflict factsheet