India faces refugee influx as armed clashes continue in Myanmar
By Sangzuala Hmar
Aizawl, Oct 14 (EFE).- Armed clashes between the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, and the ethnic armed rebel group Chinland Defence Force (CDF) in Thantlang township in Chin State has resulted in a serious influx of refugees crossing over into Mizoram, in northeastern India.
The Tatmadaw has resorted to heavy artillery in Chin State in northwestern Myanmar since early September, which has escalated in recent days, in at attempt to wipe out armed resistance and its sympathizers.
“As many as 300 refugees have sought shelter in our village during the past three days,” Lalngaizuala, treasurer of the nonprofit Young Mizo Association (YMA) in Farkawn vilage told EFE.
The YMA has served as the first responder to refugees entering Mizoram after the Tatmadaw overthrew the democratically elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, on Feb.1 in a coup, causing resistance among the civilian population.
Lalngaizuala said they have received reports from refugees that the situation could worsen at Thantlang Township anytime soon, even though the resistance fighters had managed to hold the army back until now.
“Farkawn branch of YMA has received numerous calls inquiring whether they are welcome as refuges in India; we have only one answer – they are welcome anytime, we will share whatever we have,” Lalngaizuala told EFE.
All along the Mizoram-Myanmar border, there are numerous reports of fresh violence and clashes between the resistance and the Myanmar army.
“We have received reports that a major gun battle took place near Falam Township in Chin State today, our forces intercepted the Tatmadaw forces who were marching to Hakha Township,” said Salai Htet Ni, spokesperson of the Chin National Army (CNA), the armed wing of the Chin rebels.
Refugees who have crossed over to Mizoram in India have reported that the Myanmar army have been conducting surveillance in areas where the CNA are known to operate.
“The refugees reported that drones and other UAV are doing surveillance (…) we presume that they could be operated by the Myanmar army,” said Lalngaizuala.
Chin State has experienced massive displacements and casualties since early September.
Recently, CNA and a newly organized CDF together killed 12 soldiers and overran a military outpost at Lungler town.
Chin State is the main stronghold of the CNA, an outfit that has rebelled against military rule in Myanmar since the last 31 years, with their headquarters at Camp Victoria, near the Indian border. EFE