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Mizoram: Bombings and Air Raids Seen as Fighting at Myanmar Border Intensifies

At least 1,000 people have fled into Mizoram.
Tonzang township on the India-Myanmar border. Photo: MAA KHAI/YouTube/video screengrab.

New Delhi: Rebel forces in Myanmar continue to engage in fierce fights with the country’s military close to the India border, capturing two towns close to the border since May 19.

The Irrawaddy, quoting Salai Htet Ni, the spokesperson for the armed ethnic group of the Chin State, the Chin National Army, on May 20, had said that its forces had captured Cikha and Tonzang towns in Falam district of Tonzang township, located near the India border. 

The report said the Chin resistance forces captured the towns on May 19 after four days of fighting the Junta forces.

Also in the fight is the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), the armed wing of the Zomi Revolutionary Organisation (ZRO), which is allied with the junta. While being active in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, bordering Myanmar, is also present in that country’s Chin State. 

While the CNA spokesperson said all of Cikha was captured on May 19, entire Tonzang was yet to be cleared of Junta forces as air raids by the military had continued in that area. 

“Tonzang is home to around 1000 households, who are largely ethnic Zomi,” said the report. 

Another news report on May 22 stated that the air raids were continuing on Tonzang, making it difficult for “charity workers to provide basic necessities for (to) thousands of civilians fleeing bullets and bombs.” 

Due to the air raids and bombing in the Chin state, at least 1,000 people have fled into Mizoram.

According to the Mizoram Post, this fresh batch of refugees have entered the north-eastern state’s Champai district due to fear of air raids by the Junta. 

Quoting a state government official, the report said more than 2,000 Myanmar refugees have entered Mizoram since May 5 due to the ongoing conflict. “With the fresh influx, more than 36,500 Myanmar refugees are now taking shelter across all eleven districts of the state.” 

The news report added, “Majority of them are staying outside relief camps by joining relatives or friends as well as staying in rented houses, while others are living in 149 relief camps across seven districts.”

These refugees share kinship with the Mizos. Mizoram shares a 510 km long border with Myanmar. Six of its districts – Champai, Saiha, Lawngtlai, Hnahthial, Serchhip and Saitual – share border with the Chin State of Myanmar.  

Note: An earlier version of the piece said the ZRA was allied with the CNA. The error has been rectified.

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