Over 150 Myanmar soldiers seek asylum in Mizoram amid intense conflict

These soldiers, who fled from their camp in Chin State’s Paletwa in Myanmar, have expressed their desire to surrender to the Assam Rifles, India’s oldest paramilitary force.

Amid escalating conflict in Myanmar, a total of 151 soldiers from the country’s military, known as the ‘Tatmadaw’, have sought refuge by crossing the border and entering Tuisentlang village in the Lawngtlai district of south Mizoram. These soldiers, who fled from their camp in Chin State’s Paletwa in Myanmar, have expressed their desire to surrender to the Assam Rifles, India’s oldest paramilitary force.

The Tatmadaw personnel successfully crossed the international border at pillars number 2 and 4, arriving at Tuisentlang in the Lawngtlai district while carrying their weapons. Some of the soldiers were severely injured and received immediate medical assistance from the Assam Rifles. Currently, the soldiers are under the secure custody of the Assam Rifles at Parva, located in the Lawngtlai district near the Myanmar border. It is anticipated that more members of the Tatmadaw will also seek refuge in this border village.

The Assam Rifles have initiated the repatriation process for these soldiers. The surrendered personnel from the Myanmar army have been transported to Parva, and the state police personnel are closely collaborating with the Assam Rifles in the border areas. As discussions are ongoing between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Myanmar military government, the Myanmar soldiers will be repatriated to their country in the coming days.

Escalating Conflict in Myanmar

Myanmar has been embroiled in a long-standing civil war that dates back to 1948. Following a period of military rule from 1962 to 2011, the country witnessed a shift in power once again in February 2021, when the military overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. This coup has sparked a series of events that have intensified the conflict, with ethnic armed groups, including pro-democracy fighters, launching sustained attacks on multiple fronts.

Since October, the northern part of Shan state has become a battleground as the Three Brotherhood Alliance, consisting of the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, launched a coordinated offensive. Not stopping there, the Arakan Army also targeted outposts in their home state of Rakhine in the west, further escalating the conflict.

These well-trained and well-armed ethnic militias have posed a significant challenge to the military junta, which has been grappling with a nationwide uprising led by the People’s Defence Forces, a pro-democracy armed group formed in response to the military’s seizure of power. The alliance has achieved notable victories, including the capture of four border crossings in the northern part of Shan state. In response, the military government has acknowledged the loss of three towns and has vowed to launch counterattacks against the alliance.

The escalating conflict in Myanmar paints a grim picture of a nation torn apart by violence and political turmoil. The ongoing clashes between the military junta and ethnic armed groups, coupled with the resistance from pro-democracy forces, have created a volatile situation that threatens the stability and well-being of the country and its people.

The number of Tatmadaw members who have surrendered to Indian authorities after crossing the Mizoram-Myanmar international border has now reached 255, with the recent addition of 151 Myanmar army personnel. These soldiers sought refuge in Mizoram after their military camps were taken over by the People’s Defence Force (PDF), a pro-democracy militia. Previously, 104 soldiers had already fled to Mizoram in November. They were airlifted by the Indian Airforce to Moreh in Manipur and then crossed the international border into Tamu, Myanmar’s nearest border town.

The Mizoram police have stated that the 151 soldiers will likely follow the same process as before, being flown from Parva to Moreh in Manipur and then handed over to the Myanmar junta. This situation highlights the complex security dynamics in the region and the ongoing conflicts involving Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups.