20 Mizoram militants surrender with arms

Formed in 2003, the BLFM, a separatist outfit of minority Reang tribals locally called Bru, was active in Mizoram and southern Assam, neighbouring northern Tripura.

"The militants led by their commandant Apit Branto surrendered to Assam Rifles' 14-battalion commandant Ratnakar Trivedi at a simple ceremony early Thursday and deposited some firearms," a police spokesman told reporters.

"This surrender would go a long way to restore peace and normalcy in south Assam and Mizoram, bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar," Assam Rifles officials said at the ceremony.

In April 2005, the Mizoram government and the militant Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) had signed an agreement after 13 rounds of talks to solve the decade-old ethnic crisis, leading to the surrender of about 1,040 militants of the BNLF and BLFM. But some BLFM and BNLF militants did not surrender at that time and continued their violent activities.

Both the rebel outfits have been fighting for setting up an autonomous council for the Reang tribals, a primitive tribe among the tribals in northeast India.

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