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Fleeing Paites spent night in Burma

Fleeing Paites spent night in Burma forests
By Bit Irom

The Asian Age (New Delhi), November 1, 1997

Imphal, Nov. 10: Fleeing Paites rescued by the police from the
Indo-Burma border town of Moreh recount tales of horror at Imphal. They
were brought here after fears that the ongoing Kuki-Paite clashes in
Manipur's Churachandpur district may spill over to Moreh.

Siankhupao Paite, 55, was among the 108 Paites rescued by the police
after threats by Kuki militants at Moreh. Siankhupao recalled, "The
situation along the border town has been tense since November 1, the day
of the Kut festival. This is the post-harvesting festival of the
Chin-Kuki-Mizos. The state festival was organised at Moreh.

The Paite community living at Moreh has been living in fear since Monday
when suspected Kuki militants abducted tour Paites. The abducted men are
Suankhothang Paite, 45, Kanpao Paite, 68, Chinkhapao. 44, and
Khamkhoneng Paite, 58. They are all residents of Moreh ward 3, said a
refugee, who has now taken shelter with his relatives at Imphal.
Although officials are keeping strict vigil on the border town, refugees
confirm that of the four kidnapped Paites, one was gunned down by the
abductors. A Paite housewife whose husband is among the four kidnapped,
told reporters that suspected Kukis took her husband away on Monday
saying they had, urgent business to discuss. Her husband has not
returned since. The matter has been reported to the police, the Hill
Tribal Council at Moreh, and Meitei Council, Moreh, she said.

Bungjaning Paite recounted her experiences: "Fearing attacks by the
Kukis, all Paites at Moreh have crossed the border and taken shelter at
Namphalong in Burma. They went on Monday afternoon there and spent a
night." The following day, the Paites were pushed back by the Burmese
administration which said that it could not provide adequate security to
them. The refugees spoilt the night at a church and later stayed in the
jungles for a night.

Finally, they were rescued by the Meitei Council, Moreh. The council
provided them shelter at the residence of the chief advisor to the MCM,
Mr Imobi Meitei. A police team led by DIG (hill range) Ahanthem
Romenkumar Singh helped the refugees. Official sources here said that 98
Paites had been provided shelter at a makeshift camp at the
Churachandpur higher Secondary School and the remaining refugees were
handed over to their relatives at Imphal and other places.

In the ongoing Kuki-Paite clashes, over 150 persons lost their lives and
over 2,000 houses were burnt in Churachandpur district of Manipur.