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Myanmar rebels moving arms via Mizoram to fight junta, say security forces in Northeast

Sources in Assam Rifles said more than 20 Myanmar nationals have been arrested in the past few months in Mizoram alone
Last Updated : 31 October 2022, 17:26 IST
Last Updated : 31 October 2022, 17:26 IST
Last Updated : 31 October 2022, 17:26 IST
Last Updated : 31 October 2022, 17:26 IST

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It has been known for a while that the insurgents in India’s Northeast have used neighbouring Myanmar for shelter and training to carry out their armed fight in the region.

However, security agencies in the region, have been recently claiming that they have begun to witness a “reversing trend”, where rebel groups of Myanmar are now found to be using Mizoram to arrange and transport arms and equipment to aid their fight against the military junta that usurped the elected government there last year.

Security officials stationed in Mizoram told DH that over the past two months, hand-made grenades, crude explosives, bullets, bullet-proof jackets, satellite phones and other communication devices have been seized in at least four different instances while being smuggled into Myanmar. “Investigation into the cases related to recovery of the items have revealed that the armed groups fighting against the military are trying to arrange weapons, in order to intensify their armed fight against the military. So, vigil has been intensified along the Indo-Myanmar borders in the Northeast to ensure that Indian soil cannot be used for any unlawful activities, be it here or outside,” a security official said.

Myanmar, which witnessed sporadic trouble since the military junta staged a coup last year, shares 1,643km of border with India along Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

In February last year, the military launched a crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, forcing over 30,000 Myanmar nationals including MPs, MLAs, police personnel to flee and take shelter in Mizoram, a state sharing 510km border with the military-ruled country.

A new stockpile of weapons was recovered on Sunday from Siaha district in Mizoram by the Assam Rifles while being transported to Myanmar. A team of Assam Rifles and Mizoram Police intercepted vehicles and seized the items at Tuipang village. “The items recovered were of military grade and hence the same being used for anti-national activities against own people, by insurgents based in Myanmar, cannot be ruled out,” Assam Rifles said in a statement on Sunday.

The items included a shotgun, gelatin sticks, combat backpacks, combat dress, hand gloves and shoes. Four persons were arrested and a Chinese motorcycle was also seized.

Similarly, on October 26, Assam Rifles and Mizoram police seized another cache of equipment and arms that included satellite phone, airgun, airgun pellets, batteries and others from Niawthlang village in Siaha district. Four persons were arrested in that instance.

Sources in Assam Rifles said more than 20 Myanmar nationals have been arrested in the past few months in Mizoram alone for their alleged involvement in smuggling of arms, drugs, gold, betel nuts and other items. “We have asked the local administration to conduct proper documentation of the Myanmar nationals who are continuously coming to Mizoram due to the conflicts in Myanmar,” said an Assam Rifles official.

The National Investigation Agency, which has been investigating a case related to recovery of 2,400 kg of explosives in Mizoram in January had stated on September 14 that the consignment was meant for Chin National Front, a group against the military in Myanmar.

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Published 31 October 2022, 17:26 IST

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