The Indian Army on Saturday confirmed that the five civilians, who went missing from villages near the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh, have been handed over to India by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). All the five men are currently under quarantine as per COVID-19 protocol, the Army said.

“Indian Army took over all five individuals (missing from Arunachal Pradesh) at Kibitu today after completing all formalities. Individuals will now be quarantined for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members,” news agency ANI repoted quoted, PRO Defence, Tezpur.

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju had on Friday said that the PLA has confirmed that men will be handed back to India.

“The Chinese PLA has confirmed to Indian Army to hand over the youths from Arunachal Pradesh to our side. The handing over is likely to take place anytime tomorrow i.e. 12th September 2020 at a designated location,” Rijiju had said in his tweet.

China had earlier brushed off concerns over the whereabouts of the five youths and needled India, saying it has never recognised Arunachal Pradesh which it claims is part of south Tibet.

The incident came to light when two members from the group of youths, who went hunting in the jungle, returned home and informed the families of the five that they were whisked away by the Chinese troops from Sera-7, an Army patrol zone located about 12 km further north of Nacho, news agency PTI reported.

Nacho is the last administrative circle along the McMahon line and is around 120 km from the district headquarters Daporijo.

Those who were allegedly kidnapped by the Chinese Army were identified as Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri.