Number of refugees much more than locals at many places in Kamjong Shift refugee camps to confined areas: Villagers to Govt


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Mungchan Zimik
Ukhrul, May 19 : Residents of the border villages of Kamjong district have urged the Government to shift all the refugee camps to confined areas.
According to the villagers, refugees numbering over 5776 were housed in nine different villages under Kasom and Kamjong blocks (Namlee, Wanglee, Kaka, Zingshophai Choro, Aloyo, Skipee, Pilong, Sangalok and Phaikoh).
Chingshangam Ningshen, Secretary of Wanglee Village Market Committee highlighted vulnerability of the local people on account of the continuous influx of Myanmar refugees in the region since 2023.
Although the refugees were properly documented, they are scattered and allowed to settle in different villages.  This arrangement is not safe for the local people. Therefore the Government must identify a particular area for their accommodation and house them in a confined area, Chingshangam Ningshen said.
The refugee camps should be manned by the Government and sufficient security forces should be stationed around the refugee camps for monitoring their movement and activities
The premises of the refugee camps must be properly fenced, he said.
Likeson, headman in-charge of Namlee village informed that more 100 refugees went home (Myanmar) without giving any information to the village authority.
“We have no idea why they left the camp but the local villagers have strong suspicion that they are working for some secret mission”, Likeson said.
Soreingam Hungyo of Kaka village said that Kaka has a population of 118 but the number of refugees staying in the village has reached 315.
As the refugees far outnumber them, the local villagers  have been facing a number of problems including economic hardships.
Of the 5776 refugees staying in Kasom and Kamjong blocks, biometric data of 5516 have been already captured.
The remaining 263 refugees arrived this week and they are staying at Namlee, Wanglee and Kaka. The process of capturing their biometrics is going on.
In Kamjong block, Phaikhoh has 1591 refugees, Sangalok-660, Skipee-356, Pilong-595, Zingshophai Choro-4 and Aloyo-410.
Under Kasom Khullen block, Wanglee has 512 refugees, Namlee has 1031 and Kaka has 357 refugees.
Although some Government staff and police are also stationed in the area for monitoring and ensuring the situation, their number is quite limited.
Most of the refugees currently taking shelter in Kamjong district came from Tungchou, Bantula, Phayang, Mintah, Aungiya, Tanan, Zede and Mantoh villages of Myanmar.
Kasom Khullen SDC Orient Thansing who was stationed at Namlee village said that the process of capturing biometrics of the 263 refugees who arrived anew at Namlee, Wanglee and Kaka villages would be completed soon and will be properly  documented.
The villagers constructed 50 huts in Namlee village and 46 huts in Wanglee village for the Myanmar refugees.
The Ukhrul Times reported on Saturday that the local residents have been facing multiple threats from militarization and the influx of refugees
It is said that two companies of Assam Rifles and other security forces are being deployed and stationed at the stretch from Aloyo to Namlee, a distance of about 12-13 km.
S Hungyo of K Ashang Khullen Aze (KAKA) stated, "I don't know what guideline is there with regard to refugees. Around 350 refugees are living here. We are 35 households with a population of 118. We are seeing changes in our day-to-day dealings after the arrival of the refugees. On humanitarian grounds, we want to accept them, but there are gaps and consequent differences and difficulties between us since we belong to different ethnicities.
“We don't know when they can return to their homes. Therefore, we would like to appeal to the Government to let the refugees live within a demarcated area with strict guidelines. This is necessary because we are much less in population with 118 to their 350 numbers. There have been remarkable changes in our village after their arrival. There is strain in our resources. For example, the firewood from our forest that could be used for one year is being consumed within three months. This is just one example but a good indicator of what is going on."
In the first week of May 2024, the villagers of Kang-pat, Zingshophai Choro, K Ashang Khullen Aze (KAKA), Wanglee, and Namlee went searching for a missing person at the border towards Myanmar.
During the joint search operation, a dog accompanying its owner stepped on a planted mine bomb, which exploded and injured a civilian and the dog. "About 4 kilometers from here, we don't know who has buried those mine bombs, but recently, a civilian was injured when a mine bomb exploded. There is no doctor around here, but to save his life, we all did what we could, and he is fine now. With the ongoing war on the border, we don't know who is responsible for the mine bombs, whether it is the Assam Rifles or the Burmese or others. What we want is to allow free movement of civilians and let us carry out our activities without disturbances," stated S Hungyo of KAKA.
Today, villagers are afraid to graze their cattle at the border, fearing for their lives. They cannot go to the jungle to forage for food. They are afraid there could be more mine bombs planted.
One A Rungsung stated, "The Kukis are at war in two geographically very different places with different opponents. One cannot help but wonder how an unorganized force is fighting a very organized war. How have they persevered for so long? Who is helping them? From where are they getting their arms?"
An Indian army officer, during an interaction with media persons, candidly admitted, "KNA or KNA (B) are the same. On the Myanmar side, they are known as KNA (B) and just a change of nomenclature when they cross the border."
 Lately, Indian security forces have apprehended many Meitei underground cadres at the border. However, there is not a single report of Kuki underground cadre being apprehended at the border.