At least 43 Myanmar soldiers have escaped to India after pro-democracy militias overrun two military bases in Rihkhawdar and Khawmawi in Myanmar’s Chin state close to the Indian border on Monday, a NE Now report said citing official sources.
Around 40 of them have been flown back and handed over to the Myanmar military government on Tuesday, it added.
It was reported that the Myanmar soldiers fled to the nearest police station at Zokhawthar in Champhai district of Mizoram on Monday and Tuesday following heavy clashes with People’s Defence Force (PDF) or anti-junta rebel fighters.
Around 40 Myanmar soldiers escaped to Zokhawthar on Monday and 3 others on Tuesday, it was reported. They were handed over to Assam Rifles and were flown back to Tamu, a border town in Myanmar near Manipur border, on Tuesday.
“The entire operation from evacuating the Myanmar soldiers to Moreh and sending them across towards Tamu (nearest Myanmar town from Moreh) was over by 3 pm,” an Army officer monitoring the exercise said, according to The Hindu.
The Indian Aerospace Defence News (IADN) also confirmed that India has deported 43 Myanmar Army soldiers.
A senior state home department official said that the number of Myanmar nationals, who have fled to Mizoram due to recent clashes, is estimated to be about 2,500-5,000.
Champhai deputy commissioner James Lalrinchhana said that the militias attacked two military bases at Rihkhawdar and Khawmawi, which were taken control of by them on Monday.
In retaliation, the Myanmar army also launched airstrikes on Rihkhawdar and Khawmawi on Monday.
The fighting began on Sunday evening and continued till Monday, he said.
Zokhawthar village council president Lalmuanpuia said that at least 7 members of PDF have been reportedly killed in the gunfight.
Some members of PDF injured in the gunfight are currently undergoing treatment in Champhai and Aizawl.
Zokhawthar in Mizoram’s Champhai district and Khawmawi in Myanmar are located in close proximity divided by Tiau river, which runs along the Indo-Myanmar border, while Rihkhawdar is about 4 kilometers from Zokhawthar.
According to a report in The Wire, the decision to allow Myanmarese soldiers into India resulted in protests from Chin refugees of Myanmar, who staged a protest outside the Zokhawthar police station where the soldiers were kept. The soldiers were handed over to the Assam Rifles, according to a senior police officer.
It was also reported that Mizoram has been hosting more than 35,000 Chin refugees since the outbreak of civil war in Myanmar in February 2021. They are taking refuge in schools, community halls, temporary sheds, and the homes of relatives across Mizoram. The refugees are taking shelter in schools, community halls, temporary sheds, and the homes of relatives across Mizoram. The Chins and Mizos of Mizoram belong to the Zo ethnic group.