184 Myanmarese soldiers repatriated from Mizoram in two sorties

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Aizawl, Jan 22, 2024, IANS

As many as 184 of the 276 Myanmarese soldiers, who fled to Mizoram on January 17 after their camps were captured by armed pro-democracy ethnic groups, were flown back home on a Myanmar military aircraft on Monday, officials said.

Officials said that a Myanmar Air Force aircraft landed at the Lengpui airport here in the afternoon to take back the soldiers.

"A Myanmar Air Force transport plane from Mandalay (Myanmar) landed at Lengpui airport and evacuated 184 Myanmar soldiers to Sittwe (Akyab) in two sorties. Before the departure of the Myanmarese soldiers, the Indian authorities have completed all necessary formalities," a senior official told IANS.

The remaining 92 Myanmar soldiers would be airlifted on Tuesday, the official said.

The 276 Myanmar Army personnel took refuge in Mizoram's Lawngtlai district on January 17 after their camps were captured by the Arakan Army militants.

The Myanmar soldiers, with their arms and ammunition, reached Bandukbanga village, situated on the Mizoram-Myanmar-Bangladesh border trijunction, in Lawngtlai and were taken to Assam Rifles' Parva camp in the district.

"Necessary formalities including collection of biometric details of the Myanmar military personnel have been conducted. Necessary medical support was also given to the soldiers." the official said.

With the latest influx, the number of soldiers who fled Myanmar since November 13 last year and reached India, has touched 636.

Earlier, Indian Air Force helicopters airlifted some of these soldiers to Manipur's Moreh and handed them over to the Myanmar Army authorities from the border town.

On January 2 and 9, a total of 151 Myanmarese soldiers were flown back home on a Myanmar military aircraft that came to Lengpui airport.

Fierce gun battles between the Myanmar Army, popularly known as Tatmadaw, and the armed fighters resumed in October last year in areas close to the Indian border leading to the fresh influx of soldiers and civilians into Indian territories. Due to the fighting between the Army and the pro-democracy forces thousands of Myanmar citizens including women and children also fled to Mizoram in the recent months.

The first influx from Myanmar happened in February 2021 after the Military junta seized power there. Since then, over 32,000 people, including women and children, have taken shelter in the northeastern state from Myanmar.