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29 Myanmar soldiers still stranded in Mizoram as inclement weather hampers evacuation efforts

Aizawl: Bad weather conditions have hindered the evacuation of 29 Myanmar soldiers who sought refuge in Mizoram. 

Despite attempts on two consecutive days, Saturday’s persistently foggy conditions across the state prevented the Indian Air Force (IAF) from airlifting them out, state home department officials said on Saturday. 

“While rainfall was less intense than on Friday, it remained a challenge for helicopter flights, especially considering the need for refueling within Mizoram,” an official said.

With the exception of two senior Myanmar army officers taken to an Assam Rifles camp in Farkawn village, the remaining 27 soldiers stayed at the Vaphai Assam Rifles camps. 

The soldiers had fled their camp at Tuibual in Chin state, near the Myanmar-Mizoram border, after it was overrun by the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF), the armed wing of the Chin National Organisation (CNO).

CNO’s General Secretary, Thawng Thawng, mentioned that CNDF cadres refrained from pursuing the fleeing soldiers at the request of Mizoram Police. He highlighted Mizoram’s history of providing shelter to thousands of Myanmar refugees, citing this as a reason for their cooperation.

Efforts to airlift the soldiers were initially hindered by heavy rainfall on Friday and continued to face challenges on Saturday due to adverse weather conditions. 

A similar incident occurred earlier when Myanmar army personnel from Khawmawi village fled to Zokhawthar and surrendered to the Zokhawthar Police Station, subsequently being airlifted by IAF helicopters to Manipur’s Moreh town.

Meanwhile, around 5,000 refugees who sought shelter in Zokhawthar and neighboring villages due to attacks by various armed groups in Myanmar have returned to their respective villages in Chin state. 

Village council president of Zokhawthar Lalmuanpuia told Zoram Chronicle over phone that except for a few people, all the refugees have returned to Khawmawi, Rihkhawdar and surrounding villages. He, however, said that many of them are afraid to spend the nights in their villages and came over to Zokhawthar at dusk, to return to their respective villages in the mornings.

Except for a little over 50 people, all the refugees  who fled Leilet village situated near Tuibual village where the Myanmar camp was captured by CNDF cadres on Wednesday morning, have also returned to their village, T. Lalramenga, president of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) of Tuipuiral group, residing in nearby Vaphai village said. 

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Zoram Chronicle