Myanmar border guard police officers patrol the beach near makeshift camp at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border near the town of Maungdaw, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, November 12, 2017. (Representative image)

Aizawl: At least 29 Myanmarese soldiers, who sought shelter in Mizoram following an intense gunfight with militia group People’s Defence Force (PDF), were sent back to their country on Sunday, an official said.  

With these, a total of 74 officers and personnel of the Myanmar army, who fled to India after their camps were overrun by pro-democracy militia groups in the recent gunfight, have been safely escorted back to Myanmar, the official said. 

The 29 Myanmar soldiers had crossed over to Mizoram on November 16 and approached Assam Rifles and state police after their camp at Tuibual in Myanmar’s Chin state, a few kilometres from the Indo-Myanmar border was overrun by Chin National Defence Force (CNDF), a local militia group which is part of the PDF.

“The soldiers were airlifted by Indian defence authorities to Moreh, a border town in India’s Manipur, on Sunday. From Moreh, they crossed over to Tamu, the nearest Myanmarese town from Moreh,” the official said.

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She said that incessant rains and bad weather disrupted the evacuation of the soldiers on Friday and Saturday, which prolonged their stay in India. 

The Myanmarese soldiers came on foot to Saikhumphai hamlet in Champhai district near Tiau river, the natural boundary between India and Myanmar, where they were received by Assam Rifles and state police on November 16, she said. 

They were in the safe custody of Assam Rifles before they were finally flown back to their country on Sunday, the official added. 

Last week, at least 45 Myanmar soldiers, who fled to Mizoram after their military camps were overrun by PDF at Khawmawi and Rihkhawdar, the two border villages in Myanmar’s Chin state on the border areas adjoining Mizoram, were sent back to their country.

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Khawmawi is just a few distances from Zokhawthar in Mizoram’s Champhai district and the two border villages are separated by the Tiau River, which runs along the Indo-Myanmar border. 

Rihkhawdar is about 4 kilometres from Zokhawthar.

Meanwhile, a police officer said that the situation along the Indo-Myanmar is peaceful as of now as there has been no report of clashes since November 15. 

Officials also said that the majority of about 5,000 people, who sought shelter in Mizoram due to the recent gunfight, have returned to their villages in Myanmar. 

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long porous international border with Myanmar. 

The northeastern state has currently hosted more than 31,000 refugees from the neighbouring country, who fled after the military junta seized power in a coup in February 2021.

The Myanmar nationals, who took shelter in Mizoram, are from the Chin community.

The Chins and Mizos belong to the same Zo ethnic group.

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