Lots of Chinese-make weapons are reaching Bangladesh through Mizoram, a senior Intelligence official in Dhaka has said.
He said the weapons originate with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in northeastern Myanmar.
This rebel outfit, the biggest armed non-state actor in Myanmar since the Burmese Communist Party withered away, is known to manufacture Chinese design weapons under some kind of informal franchise.
Northeast rebel groups like the ULFA and NSCN are known to be sourcing their weapons from the UWSA.
But weapons seizures in Mizoram in recent years have worried Bangladesh intelligence which feels that since Mizoram was a peaceful state, these weapons were meant for Bangladesh.
Some recent seizures of automatic weapons in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts have reinforced this feeling.
“On questioning suspects arrested during these weapons seizures in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, we have found these consignments came through Mizoram after originating in Myanmar,” said a senior Bangladesh intelligence official. But he was unwilling to be named.
In March 2013, the Assam Rifles seized 33 AK-47 rifles, a combat browning automatic rifle, a 5.56 automatic light machine gun, 49 loaded magazines and 809 rounds of ammunition from the outskirts of Aizawl.
Five people, including three Bangladeshis and two Mizoram residents, were arrested in connection with the recovery near Lengpui airport in Mizoram.
According to Mizoram Police and intelligence officials, the weapons were being smuggled to Bangladesh.
Since then, the Assam Rifles and Mizoram police have frequently seized weapons and invariably found a ‘CHT connection’.
With the December 30 parliament polls round the corner and threat of violence looming large, Bangladesh intelligence is keen that the Mizoram corridor is plugged by Indian forces to prevent weapons from slipping into their country.