Over 1,000 people from Myanmar have taken refuge in Mizoram’s border district of Champhai after fighting intensified between Myanmar’s rebel forces and the ruling junta, the Hindustan Times reported citing district administration sources on Thursday.

Champhai deputy commissioner James Lalrinchhana was reported to have said that a fresh influx of people across the border started on May 17 and more than a thousand people including children and women had taken refuge in the district by May 22 (Wednesday).

“They started entering our district on May 17 midnight. Most of them have taken shelter with their relatives in Khuangphah and Vaikhawtlang area near Indo-Myanmar international border,” he told HT.

Officials said about 600 Myanmar refugees from Chin state took refuge in Vaikhawtlang village in Champhai district and another 200 crossed the border from an area near Khuangphah village in the same district.

“Their lives were in danger in their country and they have taken shelter here. We are aware of the movement and believe that they’ll go back home once the situation becomes normal there,” HT quoted officials as saying.
Lalrinchhana said the administration has not received any request for assistance and local NGOs have been supporting the new batch of refugees.

“We are yet to get calls for support from them. As per our reports, most of them are staying with their relatives. Some are staying in shelter homes and we are providing them security,” he said.

Over 36,500 Myanmar refugees are estimated to be in the state across its 11 districts. The state government has built 149 relief camps in seven districts to accommodate the refugees.

Six Mizoram districts, Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Hnahthial, Serchhip and Saitual share a border with Myanmar.

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long border with Myanmar’s Chin state and the Mizos share ethnic ties with people belonging to the Chin community. It is on account of these ties that a large number of people in Champhai district joined the protest last week against the central government’s move to scrap the Free Movement Regime between India and Myanmar.

The protests were organised by Zo Reunification Organisation (Zoro), a Mizo group which seeks the reunification of all Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi tribes of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar by bringing them under one administration.

The free movement regime allows people to cross up to 16 km on both sides of the international border.

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