200 from Myanmar refuse to leave

Over 200 Myanmar refugees fleeing armed conflict between Myanmar Army and Arakan Army (AA) militants are still languishing in south Mizoram's Lawngtlai district.

By Henry L. Khojol in Aizawl
  • Published 12.09.18
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Aizawl: Over 200 Myanmar refugees fleeing armed conflict between Myanmar Army and Arakan Army (AA) militants are still languishing in south Mizoram's Lawngtlai district.

State home department officials said the refugees entered Mizoram on November 25 last year following the crackdown launched by Myanmar Army against AA militants after 11 Myanmar Army personnel were gunned down by the militants in an ambush near the Kaldan river.

Initially, the refugees numbering about 1,750 entered Lawngtlai district and were taking refuge at makeshift camps in four villages -Zochachhuah, Laitlang, Dumzautlang and Hmawngbuchhuah, they said.

The refugees, mostly Buddhists and Christians, were from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar's Arakan (Rakhine) state.

Though the Myanmar government has asked them to return to their respective villages citing that the armed conflict between Myanmar Army and AA militants had subsided, about 238 people, including 69 children from 60 families still remain in Mizoram and were reluctant to return to their villages citing that the armed conflict may get renewed anytime, officials said. In January and February, majority of the refugees had returned to Myanmar on their own.

The refugees are at present taking refuge at Hmawngbuchhuah village in the Bumtlang subdivision and are supporting themselves as the Mizoram government has stopped giving them food and other relief aids after the Myanmar government declared that their villages are safe to live. Mizoram police also said one of the main reasons that made the refugees reluctant to return to their villages was fear of landmines being planted in their area.