Aizawl/Agartala: In one of the biggest arms haul in northeast India, paramilitary Assam Rifles recovered 31 AK-47 rifles and other arms and ammunition in Mizoram. The arms were being smuggled to Bangladesh, officials said on Saturday.
Three people were also arrested in connection with the arms recovery near Lengpui airport in Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.
"Acting on a tip off, the Assam Rifles troopers conducted raids in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh Thursday and recovered a large cache of weapons and ammunition. Ten people were apprehended, including one self-styled commander-in-chief of Dimasa National Liberation Force, a separatist outfit in Assam," an Assam Rifles official told a news agency.
He said that the state police and central intelligence officials have been interrogating the arrested people, whose identity is being withheld.
Mizoram superintendent of Police, (CID-Crime branch) Joseph Lalchhuana said that 23 AK-47 rifles, a Browning automatic rifle, a light machine gun and a large cache of ammunition being routed from Myanmar to Bangladesh were seized from a small vehicle near Lengpui airport near Aizawl late Thursday night.
Three people, including two residents of Tripura, were arrested along with the arms.
"After they were questioned, eight more AK-47 rifles and a large quantity of ammunition and some explosive materials were seized from a nearby place Friday," Lalchhuana told reporters at Aizawl.
The apprehended persons were identified as Rabi Chakma, Sobuj Chakma and Moni Tripura. Two of them hailed from northern Tripura.
A team of Tripura police on Saturday left for Aizawl to get details about the arms recovery and arrests.
Four northeastern states - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam - share a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh, while Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh share a 1,640-km unfenced border with Myanmar.
Most parts of the borders are unfenced and running through mountainous terrain and dense forests, making it porous and vulnerable and advantageous to terrorists and cross-border elements.
The India-Bangladesh border is manned by the Border Security Force (BSF) while the India-Myanmar boundaries are guarded by Assam Rifles.
Insurgent outfits in northeast India use jungle routes along the borders to sneak in arms and ammunition with the help of international arms smugglers. There have been instances in the past where security forces have intercepted arms consignments being carried to various separatist outfits of northeast through Mizoram.