Fresh influx of refugees into Mizoram as clashes intensify in Myanmar

A fresh wave of refugees from Myanmar crossed into Mizoram for shelter after the Mynmar armed forces launched a fresh offensive against civilians and Arakan Army militants, officials said on Tuesday.

District officials said that during the past one week, 619 refugees from neighboring Chin state of Myanmar took shelter in four villages in southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district due to armed confrontation between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and the Arakan Army.

Officials, quoting the sources across the border, said that the Myanmar Army started attacking different villages of Chin state along the India-Myanmar borders since August 30, and residents of Varang and adjoining villages had started vacating their homes and took shelter in Mizoram.

According to officials, the Myanmar villagers used boats to bring all their belongings, rations and livestock into Mizoram.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of casualties of both Arakan Army and Myanmar Army personnel.

Before the fresh influx, there were 5,320 Myanmar refugees in Lawngtlai. The hapless men, women and children had crossed the Tiau river by small boats and used forest tracks to reach Mizoram.

The newcomers were now staying with their relatives and friends, as well as in community halls and unused buildings.

Lawngtlai Deputy Commissioner Amol Srivastava on Monday to take stock of the recent influx of refugees from Myanmar into the district. The meeting decided to provide tarpaulin for construction of temporary relief camps as well as blankets, hygiene kits and other material required by the refugees.

The district relief committee also decided to ask for funds to meet the needs of the Myanmar refugees from the state government for providing humanitarian assistance.

Around 31,000 Myanmar nationals, including 11,798 children and 10,047 women, have taken shelter in 11 districts of Mizoram, with which their country shares an over 500-km-long unfenced border, since the military junta led by army chief General Min Aung Hlaing seized power in February last year.

These include 14 lawmakers.

The majority of the Myanmarese who have taken shelter belong to the Chin community, also known as the Zo community, who share the same ancestry, ethnicity and culture as the Mizos, who dominate Mizoram’s 1.2 million tribal population.

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