Burmese police arrested four Rohingya people in Rihkhawdar, Chin State on Monday morning after they unofficially re-entered the country from India’s Mizoram State.
Lalpeklawma, who is in charge of the Rihkhawdar’s information and public relations office, told Khonumthung News that the individuals—three men and one woman—were from Rakhine State.
“According to the police records, they were arrested in Ward 2 of Rihkhawdar town at around 4:00 a.m. this morning,” he said on Monday, adding that they had “illegally” entered Burma by crossing a stream which marks the border between India and Chin State in that area. “Currently, they are being detained at the police station. The police will send them to Falam. They don’t have any travel documents.”
The individuals’ journey started after they fled Rakhine State for a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. Later they went to the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar, and onward to Assam and then Mizoram in India, before attempting to return to Burma from the Mizo village of Zokhawthar.
The arrest occurred after police Lt Aung San Lin and other officers inspected a vehicle traveling from Ward 1 to Ward 2 in Rihkhawdar. The Rohingya men and woman were in the car. They, along with driver Maung Swam Khai and his assistant Kap Khant Kein, were all arrested.
The group has been charged with violating Immigration Act 13(1) and (5).
Khonumthung News reported a similar arrest on June 22, of three Rohingya also taken into custody in Rihkhawdar after following a similar route to return to the country. The Rohingya are systematically denied identity and travel documents in Burma. The government and military do not recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, and have widely denied them citizenship on these grounds. Since 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya fled the country to Bangladesh, in response to a military campaign that included reports of widespread rape, murder, and the destruction of Rohingya villages and property in northern Rakhine State.