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New Dehli: The remaining three Burmese freedom fighters were released from jail in India on Wednesday, thirteen years after being arrested on charges of gun-running from Andaman's Landfall Island.

They were identified as Arakanese nationals Lu Lu and Hayli, and Karen national Maung Naing. The judge in Port Blair in the Andaman Islands released them unconditionally.

The three were still being held in jail for charges filed by a police officer for irresponsibility of his duty. Because of this, the three rebels remained after their colleagues, 31 Arakanese rebels from Burma, walked out of the Presidency Jail in Kolkata on 19 May, 2011.

Ko Danya Lun, who was released on 19 May, confirmed their release.

"The three of our comrades remaining in the Kolkata prison were released and they will come to New Delhi to join us living here," Ko Danya said.

The 36 Arakanese and Karen nationals were arrested on February 11, 1998, by the Indian Military Intelligence in what was codenamed Operation Leech. Two of the men arrested - one an Arakanese national and another Karen - have been missing since the arrest, but they are suspected to have died at some point in Port Blair.

All the arrested men were from the National United Party of Arakan, or NUPA, and the Karen National Union, or KNU, and were arrested when they came to Landfall Island in Indian to set up a base to carry out operations against the Burmese junta.

Six top rebel leaders, including Khaing Raza were killed in cold blood during the operation - and what the Arakanese allege was an act of back-stabbing by an Indian Military Intelligence officer - a day after they reached the island on 11 February, 1998.

Initially, the defense ministry of India claimed the 36 arrested rebels and their slain leaders were part of a gang of gun-runners allegedly supplying weapons to insurgent groups in the country's northeast, but as the trial progressed it became clear the "arms smuggers" were not New Delhi's enemy.

The NUPA and KNU rebels had reached Landfall Island to set up a base of operations in its movement against the junta. The fighters were promised the base and assured of support by Lieutenant-Colonel V.S. Grewal, and Indian Military Intelligence officer.

The rebels, however, report that they were arrested on arrival and their leaders, including General Khaing Raza, the outfit's military wing chief, were killed in cold blood.

The released rebels are now living in the Indian capital New Delhi with refugee status granted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
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