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42 Myanmar army personnel stranded in Mizoram airlifted to safer place

A Chin National Army flag was seen flying atop Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge at Zokhawthar on Tuesday.

Aizawl: At least 42 Myanmar army personnel were airlifted to safer place from a helipad in Mizoram-Myanmar border Hnahlan village of Champhai district by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters on Tuesday, village leaders of Hnahlan said.

Village council president of Hnahlan said over phone that helicopters landed and took off for around 4 times at the helipad. “We know that the Myanmar soldiers were brought to our village by Assam Rifles trucks and boarded the helicopters. We do not know where they were flown to, but sources said that they were heading for Dimapur in Nagaland,” the VCP said.

After the Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Chin National Army (CNA) and the Chin Defence Force (CDF), a local civilian armed resistance group, combine overran and captured Khawmawi Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) camp on Monday afternoon at around 5:00pm, the soldiers fled, crossed the international border and took refuge inside Champhai district in Mizoram.

The number of Myanmar army personnel who were kept in custody at Mizoram-Myanmar border Zokhawthar Police Station were 39 on Monday night, while three more soldiers reached Zokhawthar Police station on Tuesday morning, one of them was being treated for injuries.

The 39 Tatmadaw members were brought to Champhai town, the district headquarters of Champhai district on Monday night and again moved to Hnahlan village from where they were airlifted on Tuesday.

The whereabouts of the last three entrants are still not known.

IGP (Hqrs.) of state Police Lalbiakthanga Khiangte said that the Ministry of Home Affairs instructed the state government to hand over the Assam Rifles, who are mandated with guarding the 404-km-long Myanmar international.

Khiangte said that Tatmadaw camps at Khawmawi and Rihkhawdar in Chin state of Myanmar adjoining Mizoram were attacked by the KIA, CNA and CDF combine force from Sunday night and the firing continued even on Monday. He said that while the Rihkhawdar camp fell to the combine force on Monday morning, Khawmawi Myanmar army camp was overran and captured on Monday evening.

He said that the CNA flag is flying high in the ‘liberated areas’ expecially in Khawmawi village at the entrance of Myanmar territory from India.

At least 8 people, including a civilian (refugee) were killed in the clashes on Sunday night and Monday, while 7 armed militants were also killed. The 51-year-old refugee in Mizoram’s Zokhawthar was killed by a bullet fired from Myanmar side. There has been no information about the casualties on the Tatmadaw side, while is its suspected to be high.

At least 21 people were injured in the clash including a civilian in Indian side while the rest of them belonged to KIA,CNA, CDF militants. Seven of them were referred to Aizawl for treatment while the rest were being treated at Champhai district hospital.

Myanmar air force warplanes and helicopters attacked the two villages the militants were surrounding the military camps on Monday, but failed to save the 2 camps.

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