Shillong, November 19: Authorities on Sunday repatriated 29 Myanmar soldiers, who on Thursday (Nov 16) fled to Mizoram’s Champhai district, after their camp at Tuibual in Chin state was captured by the civilian armed forces.
Officials said that two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters on Sunday airlifted the 29 Myanmar soldiers from Mizoram’s Champhai to Manipur’s Moreh town and they were handed over to Myanmar’s military authority.
“After completing necessary formalities including biometric process, the Indian authorities handed over all the 29 soldiers to Myanmar Army officers at Tamu (opposite to Moreh border) in the neighbouring country,” an official told IANS.
Moreh town, 110 km south of Manipur capital Imphal, is the biggest border trading center along the India-Myanmar border.
Mizoram’s Inspector General of Police, Headquarters, Lalbiakthanga Khiangte said that on November 16, twenty nine more Myanmarese soldiers, including a major and a captain fled to Mizoram’s Champhai district.
“The Myanmar Army soldiers on Thursday approached the police and we handed them over to the Assam Rifles. They were under the custody of the para-military force and stayed at the Vaphai Assam Rifles camp,” Khiangte told IANS.
The 29 Myanmar soldiers fled to Indian territory after their camp at Tuibual in Chin state was captured by the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF), the armed wing of the Chin National Organisation (CNO).
The Myanmar Army’s Tuibual camp in Chin state near the India-Myanmar border along Mizoram.
The soldiers on Thursday crossed the Tiau river to enter Mizoram and sought shelter in Indian territory.
Tiau river serves the boundary between India and Myanmar.
On November 13, forty-five Myanmar soldiers, including officers, had fled to Mizoram after the CNDF took control of two military bases in Myanmar’s Chin state and subsequently were airlifted by IAF helicopters to Manipur’s Moreh town and they were handed over to Myanmar’s military officials the next day.
Besides soldiers, around 1,400 Myanmarese, including women and children, took shelter in Mizoram’s Champhai last week following the gunfight between the Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (military) and CNDF cadres.
The district administration has provided food and relief materials to the refugees. Necessary medical aid was also given to those hapless evacuees.
The first influx from Myanmar happened in February 2021 after the Military junta seized power.
Since then, 32,000 people including women and children from Myanmar have taken shelter in the northeastern state.
A majority of the refugees live in relief camps and government buildings, while many others are accommodated by their relatives and a large number of people of Myanmar have been staying in rented houses.
Mizoram’s six districts — Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual — share a 510-km-long unfenced and mountainous border with Myanmar’s Chin state.
The Assam Rifles, which guarding the unfenced 1,643-km India-Myanmar border has stepped up its vigilance along the frontier. (IANS)