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Mizoram provides shelter to 1,300 Myanmar tribals fleeing clashes

IANS | Aizawl |


The Mizoram government has given shelter and relief to around 1,300 tribals from neighbouring Myanmar’s restive Arakan state who have taken refuge in southern Mizoram, officials said on Monday.

“Around 1300 men, women and children have fled from Arakan state and taken refuge in four villages of Lawngtlai district (in southern Mizoram) on Saturday night,” Lawngtlai district police chief Lalsanglura told IANS.

“The Myanmarese fled their homes after the Army clashed with the outlawed ‘Arakan Army’ militant outfit cadres last week. As the armed clashes continue, we would not push back the refugees due to humanitarian grounds.”

According to the police official, the district administration now constructing makeshift relief camps for the refugees, adding that since the clashes are on, more refugees might cross over to Mizoram.

Assam Rifles and state police were deployed in the area.

Lalsanglura said he, Lawngtlai Deputy Commissioner Arun T., and senior Assam Rifles officials would visit the areas on the Myanmar border on Tuesday to supervise the relief and other necessary arrangements for the refugeees.

The people who crossed over to Mizoram were mostly Buddhists and Christians and they speak the same tribal language as the locals.

This is the fourth instance in recent past of Myanmarese people entering Mizoram after ethnic troubles in the neighbouring country.

The local villagers initially volunteered to provide food to the Arakanese people and arranged shelter for them.

The mountainous, northeastern state of Mizoram has a 510-km border with Mynamar and 318 km with Bangladesh, guarded by Assam Rifles and the Border Security Force, respectively.

Meanwhile, during the past twelve weeks, over 622,000 non-tribal Rohingya refugees fled to southeastern Bangladesh to escape a military crackdown in Rakhine state of Myanmar.

The current Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh started with the Myanmar security forces responding to the August 25 attacks on government outposts by the Rohingya rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.