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29 Myanmar soldiers still stranded in Mizoram

Aizawl: Myanmar army personnel numbering 29 soldiers from Tuibual camp in Chin state of Myanmar, who crossed over to India Thursday evening, remain stranded at Assam Rifles camp in Mizoram-Myanmar border Vaphai village in Champhai district due to inclement weather, Mizoram home department officials said on Friday.

The officials said that while arrangements were made to airlift the 29 Myanmar soldiers from Vaphai village by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters, incessant rain in Mizoram made it impossible for evacuate the soldiers.

“They will be evacuated by helicopter when the weather condition permits arlift by helicopters,” one official said.

Earlier, 42 Myanmar soldiers who fled to Mizoram, after their camps at Rihkhawdar and Khawmawi near Mizoram’s Zokhawthar were captured by the combine force of Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Chin National Army (CNA) and Chin Defence Force (CDF) on Monday, were flown to Moreh in Manipur on Tuesday.

The 29 Myanmar soldiers fled to Mizoram at around 4:00am (IST) on Wednesday after their camp at Tuibual was captured by the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF) a local armed militia. CNDF is an armed wing of Chin National Organisation (CNO), a pro-democratic civil resistance group operating in some parts of Myanmar’s Chin state adjoining Mizoram.

The soldiers, after losing their way in the thick jungle finally reached Saikhumphai hamlet in Champhai district situated on the banks of the Mizoram-Myanmar border river Tiau on Thursday afternoon where they were received by the state police officials, Assam Rifles personnel and local leaders of Vaphai. 

After the fall of Tuibual Myanmar army camp, there are no Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) camp along the Myanmar Mizoram border areas in Chin state adjoining Mizoram, CNO general secretary Thawng Thawng said. 

All the weapons of the Myanmar army personnel were relieved by the Assam Rifles personnel led by a major, stationed at nearby Farkawn village and are now in the custody of the paramilitary force.

T Lalramenga, president of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) of Tuipuiral group, comprising southern part of Mizoram-Myanmar border Champhai district, said that the Myanmar soldiers lost their way for over a day and night in the jungle between Tuibual camp and Mizoram-Myanmar border river Tiau.

“They arrived at Saikhumphai hamlet in the afternoon without any violence,” Lalramenga said, adding that a Police party led by Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) from Champhai town and also a team of state police personnel from nearby Dungtlang village came to receive the Myanmar soldiers.

Thawng Thawng, general secretary of the Chin National Organisation (CNO), political wing of the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF) told Zoram Chronicle over phone from their camp in Myanmar’s Chin State that they did not pursue the Myanmar army personnel following receipt of appeals from the Mizoram Police.

“The CNDF attacked the Tuibual Myanmar military camp at midnight on Tuesday and captured the camp by 4 AM on Wednesday morning, setting ablaze all the buildings there. We could have pursued them and kill them all, but we respect the appeals made by the Mizoram Police and did not pursue them as our kindred brothers and the government in Mizoram is helping all the refugees from the Chin state,” Thawng Thawng said. 

He claimed that there are no Myanmar army camps near the Myanmar border with Mizoram as all of them have been captured by the combine forces of the local militia and Chin National Army (CNA). 

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Zoram Chronicle