Junta plane repatriating Myanmar troops crashes in India

Eight crew members on board were injured in the accident, a refugee in Mizoram said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.01.23
Junta plane repatriating Myanmar troops crashes in India A junta plane skidded off the runway at Lengpui airport near Aizawl, Mizoram state, India on Jan. 23, 2024.
India Today NE

A junta plane repatriating regime soldiers to Myanmar crashed in India on Tuesday, injuring at least eight of the crew onboard, refugees in Mizoram state told Radio Free Asia.

The soldiers initially fled to Mizoram to escape fighting with the Arakan Army in Myanmar's western Rakhine state, Indian outlets reported. When the plane landed at Lengpui airport near the city of Aizawl, it skidded off the runway. 

The injured are being treated at a hospital in Aizawl, said one refugee in the city who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

“It’s known that there were 13 people on the plane. Eight people were injured, their heads and legs were broken,” he told RFA. “I heard that they have been sent to the hospital in Aizawl in three vehicles.”

Other accounts said as many as 12 onboard were injured. RFA called junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun for more information about the crash, but calls went unanswered Tuesday. 

The plane was tasked with returning 184 junta soldiers who fled to Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, added one outlet citing officers from India’s Assam Rifles. 

A total of 276 Myanmar soldiers fled battles in Rakhine last week, according to Reuters, citing an unnamed Indian military source. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the junta administration reached an agreement to bring them back in two trips.

They are being sent back to Rakhine’s Sittwe city, according to India-based news reports.

On Jan. 14, the Arakan Army announced it had captured Paletwa, a strategic border town, and six junta military camps bordering Mizoram.

According to Indian border officials, 635 junta soldiers have fled into Mizoram state during clashes with ethnic armed groups and their joint forces since the ceasefire between the junta and Arakan Army ended in November 2023. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.

 

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