Aizawl (ZoramObserver.com): Myanmarese refugees numbering about 340, who fled to Mizoram since last Friday have returned to their village Ralie in Chin state of Myanmar bordering Mizoram on Wednesday.
Official sources said that the refugees, mostly women and children were successfully sent back home from International boundary pillar no. 15 of Indo-Myanmar border with the effort of Assam Rifles, Siaha district administration, Mizoram police and Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC). They were received by leaders of Ralie village, officials said.
Fearing the imminent conflict between Myanmar Army and Myanmar based ethnic insurgent group Arakan Army (AA) who are camping at Ralie village in Chin state of Myanmar, about 340 refugees, mostly women and children belonging to the village crossed Mizoram border on last Friday and took shelter at Lungpuk and Khaikhy villages in the southernmost part of Siaha district.
The Mizoram government and Assam Rifles troopers posted along the Myanmar border areas provided necessary aid and support, including food to the refugees.
The local tribal villagers also made arrangements for food and lodging for the refugees.
Sources from Assam Rifles also said that the refugees were successfully repatriated on Wednesday.
The repatriation was organized at International boundary pillar No. 15 of Indo-Myanmar border on Wednesday, wherein Chebei, the VCP of Ralie village himself came from Myanmar to receive and take back the villagers who had fled their village. The Assam Rifles personnel handed over all the refugees to the VCP of Ralie in presence of the representatives of Siaha district administration, Mizoram police and members of MADC, Assam Rifles sources said.
A senior Assam Rifle officer quoted the village leaders who came from Myanmar as saying that the Arakan Army, who were camping at Ralie village and surrounding areas have moved away to undisclosed location towards Myanmar side and the village is now completely safe.
Meanwhile, Arakan Army spokesperson U Khine Thukha denied on Tuesday that his group had forced nearly 300 ethnic Chin to flee from western Myanmar to Northeastern India, after an Indian newspaper reported the claim.
He said allegation in Indian newspapers which quoted a senior Assam Rifles officer who reportedly spoke to the refugees, were “based on groundless accusation.”
“The accusation would be reasonable if there was armed conflict between the AA and the Burma Army,” said Thukha.
He added that 60 people from Shwe ZLet Wa village in upper Plat Wa township of Chin state recently fled to Lungpuk village on the Indian border in anticipation of fighting near their homes. Indian authorities arranged the safe return of the refugees to Myanmar, he said.
“The villagers of Shwe Let Wa said the AA had come and believed that conflict would happen if the Myanmar Army reached the region. But actually the situation is peaceful,”said Thukha, also denying the AA had detained any male villagers of Ralie village.
He said that a group was intentionally spreading false information in order to defame the reputation of AA although he declined to name the group.