Around 1,440 Myanmarese nationals who took shelter in Mizoram following a clash between militants and the Army there in November last year, have refused to return, officials said today. At least 1,600 Myanmarese people from several villages in Chin state had taken refuge in Lawngtlai district of Mizoram since November 25. Assam Rifles sources said the force had tried to repatriate the refugees after the Myanmar Army officials said they had busted AA hideouts in Chin state and took control of the area. "While a few refugees had returned, 1,440 people comprising 998 adults including 773 women and 442 minors refused to return to their homes," the sources said. Some of them were afraid to go back apprehending that violent confrontation may erupt anytime between government forces and the Arakan Army (AA) militants, while many preferred to settle down in the state. Officials said some of the refugees even tried to construct houses but the district administration stopped them and sent them back to the relief camps. The refugees from Chin state entered Mizoram after the Myanmar Army launched a crackdown on the AA militants fighting for freedom of the neighbouring Rakhine state. The Myanmarese refugees belonging mainly to Zakhai and Khumi tribes are staying at camps in Zochachhuah, Dumzautlang and Hmawngbuchhuah villages. A senior police official said people of the villages were having problems as they were outnumbered by the refugees in their own villages, though many of them were their relatives.
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