Mon 11 Jun 2007
Filed under: News,On The Border
Over 2,000 Indians, residing on the Indo-Burmese border town of Moreh, fled to Burma today to take refuge after tension broke out in the town, following fresh clashes between Manipuris and ethnic Kuki rebels.
Burmese military officials in Tamu Township provided the Indians, mainly Manipuris and Bengalis, with shelter and supplied food in Burma’s border point in Nanphalone village opposite Moreh in India.
A local resident, speaking to Mizzima over telephone, said there was palpable communal tension in Moreh following the killing of four ethnic Kuki drivers this morning by suspected Manipuri militants, who intruded from Burma.
Last night, a gun fight broke out between suspected Manipuri and Kuki militants in Moreh, the local said, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisal. He failed to give details of the clash.
“Locals are continuing to flee to Burma side of the border since this evening. More than 2,000 crossed over. As all border gates are closed, they are jumping over the fence,” the local said.
Several Kuki women this afternoon held a protest rally and demanded that the bodies of the four drivers, which were taken away by the Moreh police for post mortem and filing a case be returned, the local resident said.
Tension mounted when five Manipuri fishermen, unaware of the events returned to the town this afternoon and were killed by an unidentified group.
Kukis are the largest community in Moreh, which is an international trade point connecting Burma and India . The minority community such as the Manipuris, Bengalis and south Indians largely control the business sector in the town.
Manipuris and other communities, apprehensive of being caught in the ongoing trouble have began to seek refuge across the border, locals said
“They [Indians] fled to Burma because they are scared that the tension might affect them,” the local said.
The Indian refugees where sheltered in a primary school in Nanphalone village and were given food by the Burmese border security force, the local added.
Fresh tension broke out in Moreh just two days after the indefinite bandh was called off by Manipuri women folk following the killing of a Manipuri driver by suspected Kuki militants on June 2.
Following the bandh call Indian and Burmese authorities sealed the border gates putting a stop to trade activities.