Over 2,500 Burmese Flee to Thailand Amid Fight Between Rebels and Junta Forces

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
December 18, 2021Asia & Pacific
Over 2,500 Burmese Flee to Thailand Amid Fight Between Rebels and Junta Forces
Burma villagers rest in an evacuation area after fleeing to Thailand following clashes between Burma troops and an ethnic Karen rebel group in Mae Tao, Tak province, northern Thailand, on Dec. 17, 2021. (Chiraunth Rungjamratratsami/AP Photo)

More than 2,500 Burmese were forced to flee and seek shelter in Thailand’s Tak province amid the recent armed conflicts between a rebel Karen ethnic group, the Karen National Union (KNU), and the military regime in Burma.

Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj, deputy governor of western Tak province, said that about 2,503 refugees from Burma, 545 of whom are children, are now being sheltered in Mae Sot, a district in Tak province.

The military regime ousted the elected Aung San Suu Kyi in a February coup, sparking protests and clashes between the army and ethnic minority insurgents, like the KNU, in border areas of Burma, also known as Myanmar.

On Wednesday, clashes erupted between the KNU and the military regime in Lay Kay Kaw town, in which the junta had allegedly fired artillery shells at civilian residences. This came after more than 30 people were reportedly arrested in a junta raid in Karen State’s Myawaddy on Tuesday, reported The Irrawaddy

The fighting lasted for more than an hour, causing hundreds of villagers to flee to the north of the city, according to state media.

Tak provincial authorities said there was a clash between the army and the KNU on Thursday about 500 meters from the Thai border, which had led to an artillery shell landing on the Thai side of the border.

A Thai diplomat said the artillery firing had prompted the Thai military to fire back “two smoke bullets” into Burma as a “warning shot” to the military regime to “stop shelling into Thailand’s territory,” according to Nikkei Asia.

On Dec. 10, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement that General Min Aung Hlaing’s forces had “repeatedly failed to respect their obligations under international law” as more than 1,300 people have been killed, and 10,600 detained in Burma since the military seized power in February.

“In recent weeks, we have received multiple reports of villages being burned, including protected structures such as places of religious worship, and residential buildings,” OHCHR said, calling for a “unified and resolute international response” to restore the country’s democracy.

It also cited a recent military attack in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon, on Dec. 5, in which the security forces rammed a vehicle into unarmed protesters and fired live ammunition at them.

“These attacks are heinous, completely unacceptable, and disregard common values of humanity. They are also far from isolated,” OHCHR remarked.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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