Gunfight between Myanmar Army, People’s Defence Force triggers fresh influx of refugees in bordering villages of Mizoram
The Assam Rifles officials held a meeting with the village chiefs and leaders of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) and discussed the prevailing situation in the border villages, amid a media report of the gunfight between the Myanmar Army and People’s Defence Force (PDF) triggering a fresh influx of refugees from the neighboring country.
Officials on Monday said that the Assam Rifles conducted a security meeting with Village Council Presidents and YMA Secretaries in eastern Mizoram’s Champhai district and discussed various affairs including security-related matters of the bordering villages.
“The primary aim of the meeting was to discuss security, the welfare of the local population, and other important aspects of the border areas related to Assam Rifles. The present security situation in the neighboring Chin state of Myanmar and its implications were also discussed. Measures to increase cooperation and coordination with the security forces were also discussed,” an Assam Rifles official said.
Meanwhile, intelligence and media reports said that after the intermittent gunfight between the Myanmar Army and the People’s Defence Force (PDF), an armed wing of the National Unity Government of Myanmar, a fresh influx of refugees was reported in the bordering villages of Mizoram.
Media reports quoting Zokhawthar V C P Lalmuanpuia said that over 100 Myanmar families during the past one week took shelter in the Zokhawthar village under Champhai district.
Lalmuanpuia, who is also the chairman of the village-level committee set up by the state government to deal with Myanmar refugees, said that more Myanmar nationals are expected to take shelter in the border villages as the sporadic gun battle between the Myanmar Army and PDF continued.
Zokhawthar village since February 2021, has hosted more than 6,000 refugees from Myanmar.
Champhai Deputy Commissioner James Lalrinchhana, however, said that they are collecting details about the arrival of fresh refugees from Zokhawthar village authorities.
Around 32,000 men, women, and children from Myanmar took shelter in various districts of Mizoram, including Zokhawthar village in Champhai district after the Myanmar Army took governance in the neighbouring country in a military coup on February 1, 2021.
Six Mizoram districts — Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial, and Saitual — share a 510 km long unfenced international border with Myanmar’s Chin state and the Assam Rifles guarding the India-Myanmar border.
The majority of the refugees live in relief camps and government buildings, while many others are accommodated by their relatives and a large number of Myanmarese have been staying in rented houses.
The state government, Church bodies, YMA, NGOs, and many individuals are providing food to the Myanmar refugees, who belong to the Chin tribal community, who share close ethnic ties with the Mizos besides have language and lifestyle similarities.
The Mizoram government earlier sought financial and logistical support from the Center for Myanmar nationals, but the Union government has yet to respond.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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