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Major arms haul in Mizoram
Linda Chhakchhuak
 AIZAWL, March 8 – A total of 33 AK 47s along with an LMG and a Browning rifle and a huge amount of ammunition were seized by the Mizoram Police (CID) in two separate operations.

Last evening, 23 AK 47s, an LMG and a US made assault rifle were seized from a hamlet at Lengte village, near the Lengpui airport, about 30 kms from the capital city here. Three persons were arrested along with the haul.

Following the arrests, raids by the Mizoram CID this morning in the capital yielded eight more AK-47 rifles, 86 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 24 rounds of LMG ammunition and 699 rounds of bullets for the Browning automatic rifle.

The consignment was headed to the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS) or one of its factions in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, police said.

SP, CID (Crime), Joseph Lalchhuana said that from what the three arrested persons had revealed they belonged to a faction of the PCJSS. He said that the arms were being brought from Myanmar and was being taken to Bangladesh CHT.

The PCJSS claims it is fighting for rights of the indigenous people of the CHT tribes of Bangladesh, while on the other hand institutions like the National Consortium for Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a US Homeland Security Department supported Centre of Excellence, University of Maryland calls the PCJSS a ‘terrorist organisation.’

The arms haul has once again put the spotlight on Mizoram as a route for illegal cross-border arms trade. Mizoram shares a total of 722 kms international boundary with Myanmar and Bangladesh of which 318 kms is with the latter country.

The security situation in the State has never been stable which was underlined by the Chief Minister Lalthanhawla who called for more vigilance along the border at the Internal Security Conference of Chief Ministers in New Delhi in April last year.

This would once more bring to the fore the debates about the wisdom of pursuing vigorously the Look East Policy. LEP projects are likely to open up routes along the border. Some security experts feel that opening up the State under LEP projects to the most turmoiled tri-junction of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh in the Rakhine state of Myanmar would only open the sluice gates of arms and narcotics smuggling.

The arms seizure has sent warning bells ringing in the State which also shares boundaries with Assam, Manipur and Tripura which house several armed groups.

Meanwhile, five persons kidnapped last February 19 from Dampa Wildlife Reserve by alleged National Liberation Front of Tripura cadres are yet to be traced. After the culpirits had reportedly made a demand of Rs 50 lakh from their families nothing has been made public by the police.

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