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Over 2,000 Myanmar nationals flee to Mizoram

DHAKA (ANN/THE DAILY STAR) – Over 2,000 Myanmar nationals entered India through the border in Mizoram state, India, in the last 24 hours following a gun battle between Myanmar’s ruling junta forces and rebels in Chin province, an official said on Monday.

James Lalrinchhana, deputy commissioner of Champhai district which shares a border with Myanmar’s Chin state, said an intense gunfight broke out between Myanmar’s ruling junta-backed forces and militia group People’s Defence Force (PDF) on Sunday evening, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

This photo taken on November 9, 2023 shows a fighter of the ethnic rebel group Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) standing guard in the town of Namhkam in northern Shan state. PHOTO: AFP

Six districts of the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial, and Saitual share a 510-km-long border with Myanmar’s Chin state.

The fighting started after the PDF attacked two military bases at Khawmawi and Rihkhawdar in Chin state near the Indian border, he said, adding the fighting continued till today.

Over 2,000 people from Khawmawi, Rihkhawdar and neighbouring villages in Chin crossed over to India and took shelter in Zokhawthar in Champhai district, Lalrinchhana said.

The Myanmar military base at Rihkhawdar was taken over by the militia early today and the base at Khawmawi was also taken over by them this afternoon, he said.

In retaliation, the Myanmar army launched airstrikes on Khawimawi and Rihkhawdar villages today, the official said.

At least 17 people injured in the gunfight were brought to Champhai for treatment, Lalrinchhana said.

A 51-year-old civilian from Myanmar who was already living in Zokhawthar died when the gunfight was raging on the other side of the border, the DC said.

Zokhawthar Village Council president Lalmuanpuia told PTI that five personnel of the Chin National Army (CNA), which was a part of the PDF, were killed in the gunfight.

Lalmuanpuia said more than 6,000 people from Myanmar were already living in Zokhawthar before the gunfight started.