Amid a fierce gunfight, over 5,000 individuals, including army personnel, have crossed into the Indian state of Mizoram from Myanmar in the past two days. This exodus follows a breach of the international border on Sunday evening, triggered by an attack on two military bases in Chin state by the People’s Defence Force, leading to retaliatory airstrikes. Simultaneously, the Arakan Army launched a surprise attack on two Border Guard Police outposts in Rakhine State.
Refugee Influx and Injuries: Mizoram’s Response
“Now, more than 5,000 people have sought refuge in two Mizoram villages along the Myanmar border. Approximately 20 individuals sustained injuries, with eight of them transported to Aizawl for advanced medical treatment, while the rest are receiving care in Champhai,” reported the Mizoram Police. Unfortunately, one individual succumbed to injuries on Monday evening. Notably, 42 Myanmar army officials have also crossed the international border, surrendering before the Mizoram Police.
India-Myanmar Border Configuration
Examining the geographical context, six districts of Mizoram—Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial, and Saitual—share a 510-km-long border with Myanmar’s Chin state. Zokhawthar on the Indian side is a mere 30 metres away from Khawmawi, separated by the border and the relatively small Tiau river.
Influx Statistics and Previous Migration: A Growing Challenge
Officials on both sides of the border confirm that more than 5,000 Myanmar nationals have entered India this week. Thousands from Khawmawi, Rihkhawdar, and neighboring villages in Myanmar have sought shelter in Champhai district of Mizoram, joining approximately 6,000 other Myanmar refugees already residing in Zokhawthar. Data from the Mizoram Home Department indicates that, as of last week, there were 31,364 Myanmar nationals living in different parts of Myanmar. The majority reside in relief camps, while others are accommodated by local relatives, and some live in rented houses.
Current Situation and Uncertainties in Mizoram
Indian officials have issued alerts to residents living along the border areas amid ongoing gunfire. However, the situation in Mizoram appeared calm on Tuesday, even as clashes continued elsewhere in Myanmar. IGP Lalbiakthanga Khiangte expressed uncertainty, stating, “Since last night there has been no commotion. Now it is quite calm, but we don’t know whether the Myanmar army will attack from the air. We cannot rule out an airstrike at present if the Myanmar government is willing,” as told to ANI.
Hope Amidst Tensions: Some Refugees Return Home
Reports quoting local officials indicate that some refugees had left for their homes after the situation normalized, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the prevailing tensions.
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