GUWAHATI: Assam Rifles personnel apprehended eight rebels of the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA), which is a major insurgent group of Myanmar, in Mizoram and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from their possession.
Defence sources told Express that the rebels, who were in combat fatigues, were apprehended during an operation near Tuithumnar in Mizoram’s Lwangtlai district on Friday and subsequently, handed over to the district administration.
Among weapons seized from their possession included the sophisticated M16 and AK56 rifles besides one lathod launcher.
“Language is a problem and as such, we couldn’t find out the reason of their infiltration. But what we understood was that they are all members of the ALA,” the sources said.
The ALA, which is active in Rakhine and Karen states of Myanmar, was founded in 1968. But the arrests and imprisonment of a number of its leaders in the following months that year led to its dissolution. Between 1971 and 1972, some of them were released and they re-established the outfit with the help of Karen National Union (KNU).
The ALA campaigns on a nationalist agenda and views the ethnic Rohingyas as illegal immigrants of Bangladesh. It has for long been very hostile to them.
Myanmar has 21 insurgent groups. Over a dozen of them are in peace mode following their signing of ceasefire agreements.