Aizawl: More than 5,600 Myanmar nationals, including 18 lawmakers, have so far sneaked into Mizoram since the military junta took control of the democratically-elected government in the neighbouring country on February 1, a police officer said on Friday.

More than 100 refugees have returned to their country so far, the police officer said.

Quoting the data of Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the state police, which deals with the Myanmar refugees, he said that a total of 5,673 Myanmar nationals have taken refuge in Mizoram with the border district Champhai housing the highest at 3,170.

He said that at least 18 lawmakers (members of Parliament) belonging to the National League for Democracy (NLD) are among the Myanmarese nationals who have taken refuge in the state.

He said that the actual figure could be more as some refugees are believed to be left unrecorded, he said.

Also read: Estimated 4,000-6,000 refugees from Myanmar sought safety in India: UN

According to the officer, the Myanmar nationals are currently taking refuge in nine districts, including state capital Aizawl.

The southernmost Lawngtlai district housed 887 Myanmar nationals, Siaha 633, Aizawl 419, Hnahthial 313, Saitual 112, Serchhip 62, Lunglei 41 and Kolasib, which borders Assam, housed 36 Myanmarese nationals, he said.

He said that majority of the Myanmar nationals are being provided food by the local NGOs, while some are sheltered by villagers.

Six Mizoram districts — Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual — share a 510-km-long international border with Myanmar.

Meanwhile, state spokesperson on COVID-19 Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma said that some Myanmar nationals have been found infected with COVID-19.

He, however, could not verify the actual number.

The official said that a 61-year old woman from Myanmar, who died of COVID-19 on May 17, was not a refugee but a visitor, who came to see her relatives.

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