Airstrikes by Myanmar’s ruling junta on the headquarters of the (CNF), the political wing of the rebel (CNA), earlier this week has caused a scare in neighbouring Mizoram.
Fighter jets of the Myanmar Air Force dropped bombs on the CNF headquarters at Mount Victoria in Chin province of that country, killing five CNF members and injuring scores of others, on Tuesday (10 January) and Wednesday (11 January).
The Chin province borders Mizoram and, according to some organisations in the Indian state, one of the bombs dropped by Myanmarese fighters landed in Indian territory.
The Assam Rifles, which guards the 510-kilometre-long border that Mizoram shares with Myanmar, rubbished the reports. A senior officer of the paramilitary force, however, confirmed that several loud explosions rocked areas in Myanmar close to the international border.
The Myanmar junta, which seized power in a coup on 1 February 2021, has been fighting the CNA since April that year. The CNA has inflicted heavy casualties in attacks on Myanmarese army convoys, bases and detachments.
This week’s airstrikes on the CNF headquarters is in retaliation to the attacks on the junta’s soldiers and bases.
The CNA was the first rebel group in Myanmar to join forces with the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) — comprising political parties and civil society groups opposed to the junta — that is fighting to oust the junta and restore democracy in Myanmar.
According to reports in Myanmar’s independent newspapers, the airstrikes damaged a few buildings at the CNF headquarters, including a clinic.
However, some in Mizoram insist that the airstrikes have affected Indian territory.
Lalramliana, president of the Farkawn village council in Champai district of Mizoram (Champai district lies adjacent to the Chin province of Myanmar), said that one of the bombs dropped by Myanmarese fighter jets fell near the Tiau river on the Mizoram side. The Tiau river forms the Mizoram-Myanmar border.
The local unit of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), a very influential civil society organisation, said the bomb also damaged a truck belonging to a villager in Mizoram. It held that residents of villages in Mizoram close to the border with Myanmar are living in fear of more bombs hitting their areas.
The deputy commissioner of Champai district, James Lalrinchhana, stated the local administration has been put on high alert in apprehension of more airstrikes within Myanmar. He further added that district administration has initiated an inquiry into reports of a bomb falling on the Indian side.
Mizoram is bracing itself for a fresh influx of people from the Chin province due to the airstrikes. Since the conflict between the CNA and the junta broke out in April 2021, more than 30,000 refugees from the conflict-hit Chin province have sought refuge in Mizoram.
The Mizos have extended all help to the refugees because they belong to the same ethnic stock and most Chins, like their Mizo brethren, are Christians.
Mizoram has also given refuge to 388 Kuki-Chin people who fled their homes in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts following operations against the separatist Kuki-Chin National Army by the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh.
Mizoram has a 318-kilometre-long border with Bangladesh.
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