Three individuals identified by local authorities as “Bengalis” were arrested in the Chin State border town of Rihkhawdar on Tuesday as they tried to enter the country from India’s Mizoram State.
The arrest was made by a combined force of Rihkhawdar immigration and police officials shortly after the two women and one man crossed the border about 200 meters north of the town’s India-Burma Friendship Bridge. The authorities were waiting for them there after receiving a tipoff.
“It’s true, I can confirm this news. They were arrested yesterday and have been transferred to Falam police station,” said Chan Lian Ner, the administrator for Rihkhawdar’s Ward 1, speaking to Khonumthung News on Wednesday.
The three have been identified as Saha Nez Ahmad, Munyner Gamblastar, 26, and Barbeli Gamblastar, 20. All three are ethnic Rohingya from the village of Si Tawng in Rakhine State’s Buthitaung Township.
They had reportedly been living in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, after crossing the border from Buthidtaung in Rakhine State. They stayed at the camp for nearly two months before going to the town of Silchar in India’s Assam State, and from there they travelled to Mizoram. After passing through the towns of Aizawl, Champhai and Zokhawhtar with the help of a guide, they reached the India-Burma border and reentered Burma through Rihkhawdar.
The three were arrested for entering Burma without valid identification or travel documents.
Few Rohingya possess ID cards or other means of establishing their citizenship. Under Burma’s citizenship laws, they are not recognized as an ethnic group native to the country and are routinely treated as illegal aliens from neighboring Bangladesh.Upon completion of their interrogation of the detained Rohingyas, the authorities arrested Tin Hlaing, 50, of Kalay in Sagaing Region for allegedly trafficking them back into the country.