Hundreds of Burmese soldiers flee to India after rebel victory

Hundreds of Burmese soldiers flee to India after rebel victory

Nearly 300 soldiers from the Burmese junta have crossed the border with India to flee the advance of rebels fighting the military in power in Burma, an Indian paramilitary officer told AFP on Friday.

• Also read: Burma: A group of insurgents captures a city in the north

• Also read: Burma: There are new clashes in the west of the country

Since the Arakan Army (AA) launched a major operation against security forces in November, armed clashes have erupted in some Burmese regions on the Indian (west) border, threatening the army, which has been in power regularly since a coup in 2021 , has inflicted setbacks.

This offensive ended a widely respected ceasefire in this region since the coup.

The AA said on Sunday it had captured the town of Paletwa in Chin state, about 20 kilometers from the border with Bangladesh, as well as six military bases along the border in India's Mizoram state, which the soldiers crossed on Wednesday.

A total of 276 soldiers arrived in Bondukbangsora village with their weapons and ammunition, an officer from the paramilitary force Assam Rifles, who declined to give his name, told AFP.

“We have accommodated them in our camp,” he said, adding that the arriving soldiers “are receiving all the support they need.”

The official said his unit was collecting biometric data from the soldiers and had asked the defense ministry in New Delhi for permission to send them back to Myanmar.

Two Myanmar military aircraft have arrived in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state, to collect and repatriate soldiers who have withdrawn from the conflict.

In October, an alliance between the AA and two other ethnic minority groups launched a joint offensive against the junta in Shan State, seizing towns and key trading centers on the Chinese (northern) border.

Last week, the alliance announced a China-led ceasefire in the region after months of conflict that posed the biggest threat to the junta since it came to power.