Aizawl: The Mizoram government has given utmost care and assistance to over 300 refugees who fled their homes in Chin state of Myanmar and taking refuge at three villages of southern Mizoram’s Siaha (formerly Saiha) district following expulsion by Myanmar based ethnic insurgent group, Arakan Army, Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said.
The Home Minister, however, said that the state government has not thought of bringing up the matter to the centre.
Fearing imminent conflict between Myanmar Army and outlawed Arakan Army who are camping at Raile village in Chin state of Myanmar, over 300 refugees, mostly women and children belonging to the village crossed Mizoram border on last Friday and took shelter at three villages in the southernmost part of Siaha district.
A senior police officer in Siaha had earlier said that 187 people have taken refuge at Kaisih village, 130 at Lungpuk village and 87 others at Khaikhy hamlet in Siaha district.
Assam Rifles troopers posted along the Myanmar border areas and the Siaha district administration provided necessary aid and support, including food, to the refugees.
“The local tribal villagers of the three villages also made arrangements for food and lodging for the hepless people,” officials said.
The refugees are now sheltered at community halls and a nearby school.
Home Minister R. Lalzirliana told reporters that the Mizoram government has sent more police deployment at Khaikhy and Lungpuk villages and substantial bags of silpauline were distributed to the refugees on Monday.
He said that the BDO of Khaikhy village and Lungpuk village paid a visit to the villages on Tuesday and took stock of the situation there.
He added that authority of Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) provided necessary assistance including foods to the refugees, who are said to be Zo ethnic communities.
The Home Minister, however, said that the state government has not thought of informing ministry of home affairs at the centre about the refugees.
“The refugees refused to inform Delhi about their influx to Mizoram villages. They were scared of Myanmar Army that they would come to know about them fleeing their village and taking refuge at Mizoram villages. As a result, we harbor them in Mizoram and giving them necessary assistance,” he said.
Meanwhile, personnel of Assam Rifles deployed in south Mizoram in Indo-Myanmar border areas visited Lungpuk village and Khaikhy hamlet on 20 May and provided necessary aids including medical support to the refugees. The Assam Rifles had also contacted Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) to discuss arrangement for the safe return of refugees to their homes by providing them adequate security.
The Arakan Army (AA) is a Rakhine insurgent group in Myanmar founded on 10 April 2009 with its headquarter at Laiza in Kachin State. The group is currently led by its commander in chief, Twan Mrat Naing. The purpose of the AA, as stated by its second-in-command Nyo Twan Awng, is to “protect Arakan people, and to establish peace, justice, freedom and development.
The AA is one of three groups, along with Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, that were excluded from signing the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in 2015 and the three groups remain outside the peace process.
Many AA troops were trained by the Kachin Independence Army, another non-signatory of the NCA.