At least 1,400 Myanmar nationals have crossed over to Zokhawthar in Champhai district of Mizoram since Sunday evening to escape escalating clashes between armed resistance forces and the military junta.
A Mizoram government official, part of a team looking after relief and rehabilitation in Zokhawthar, told The Telegraph that the refugees are from Khawmawi and Rih villages in Myanmar.
“Seventeen injured refugees were admitted to the civil hospital in Champhai. A Myanmar national, who had entered Zokhawthar after the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, was killed by a stray bullet while tending to his pigs on the border,” the official said.
Another official said fighting intensified on Sunday evening with People’s Defence Forces (PDF), comprising armed civilian groups, overrunning a military camp in Khawmawi and attempting to take over another camp nearby.
The official said a Myanmar military jet and a chopper “dropped uncountable bombs” in Khawmawi during the day.
“Fighting was on in the evening but not as intense as during the day. Assam Rifles and Mizoram police personnel are guarding and managing the refugees. There was no damage on the Indian side. Whatever is happening is happening on the Myanmar side,” the official said.
Six of 11 Mizoram districts border Myanmar, including Champhai, which is hosting 5,604 Myanmar refugees.
Khawmawi in Myanmar and Zokhawthar in Mizoram are separated by the river Tiau. Myanmar and Indian nationals can go upto 16km into each other’s territory without documents due to the Free Movement Regime.