India has repatriated 184 out of the 276 Myanmarese soldiers who sought refuge in Mizoram last week after clashes with an ethnic insurgent group. An Assam Rifles official reported that the soldiers were airlifted by Myanmar Air Force planes from Lengpui Airport near Aizawl to Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The remaining 92 soldiers are scheduled to be sent back on the following day.
The Myanmarese soldiers entered Bandukbanga village in southernmost Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, located at the India-Myanmar-Bangladesh trijunction, on January 17. They approached the Assam Rifles after their camp was overrun by Arakan Army fighters, leading to their displacement. The soldiers, led by a colonel and comprising 36 officers and 240 lower-rank personnel, were initially taken to the Assam Rifles camp at Parva and later relocated to Lunglei.
Under the supervision of the Assam Rifles, the group of 276 soldiers was brought to Aizawl over the weekend for repatriation to Myanmar from Lengpui airport.
This incident adds to the larger trend of Myanmar soldiers fleeing to Mizoram, totaling 635 individuals, as their camps face capture by ethnic armed organizations and pro-democratic forces. Of this group, 359 soldiers have already been repatriated to Myanmar. Mizoram shares a 510-km long border with Myanmar, making it a significant point of entry for those escaping the conflict.