File photo of Bru refugees awaiting response from Mizoram government to take them back home . Credit: EastMojo Image

Aizawl: No fresh entry of refugees into Mizoram from neighbouring Myanmar has been reported so far after the reported fresh arm conflict between Myanmar Army and Rakhin based rebel group, Arakan Army (AA), a senior police officer said Tuesday.

Mizoram Inspector General of Police (Intelligence & Law and Order) L H Shanliana told EastMojo that there is no presence of Rohingyas in Mizoram and no militants or refugees have entered from Myanmar except those in 2017.

He said that about 230 Myanmar refugees out of 1,750 people, who entered Mizoram in November 2017 are still languishing at Hmawngbuchhuah village in Mizoram’s southernmost Lawngtlai district bordering Myanmar.

The refugees mostly Buddhist and Christian belonging to the Zhakai tribe from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) state had fled their homes and entered Mizoram on November 25, 2017 following the crackdown launched by Myanmar Army against Arakan Army militants after 11 Myanmar Army personnel were gunned down by the militants in an ambush near the Kaladan river.

Initially they were taking refuge at makeshift camps in four villages- Zochachhuah, Laitlang, Dumzautlang and Hmawngbuchhuah in Lawngtlai district. Later, they were grouped and shifted to Hmawngbuchhua village in the Bumthlang subdivision for administrative convenience.

The refugees support themselves as the Mizoram government has stop giving food and other relief aids after the Myanmar government declared that their villages are safe to live.

Shanliana said that though majority of the refugees have returned to their homes in January and February last year, about 230 people from 60 families are reluctant to return for fear of reprisal as there is constant arm conflicts between Myanmar Army and the militant group.

Meanwhile, source from Lawngtlai said that at least two additional companies of Indian Army are being sent to the Indo-Myanmar border in southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district following fresh clashes between Myanmar Army and Arakan Army.

Reports said that there have been fresh encounters between the Myanmar Army and the Rakhine-based militant group along Chhimtuipui (Kaladan) river inside Myanmar near Mizoram early this month.

The Indian troops are to be deployed in south-western part of Lawngtlai district along the Myanmar border to protect border, foil entry of militants and also felicitate refugees, sources added.

The movement of Indian troops that went viral in social media last week has cause panic among people.

Shanliana said that there is nothing to be panic as no militants have crossed the border and the security personnel are just carrying out exercise.

“We have spoken to Army officials that they are simply carrying out a routine exercise along the Indo-Myanmar border. There is no any untoward incident,” he said.

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