MyanmarThailand

Fights between Myanmar junta and ethnic armies intensify, 700 refugees flee to Thailand

Thai officials in Tak province | Photo via Mae Sot Media

Possibly around 700 refugees from Myanmar fled to Thailand’s Tak province to escape violence following clashes between the state military and the prominent ethnic armed wing of the Karen National Union in the town Lay Kay Kaw near the Thai border. A government official who spoke to AFP reporters said Thai officials have provided food and shelter to the 700 refugees.

Myanmar’s shadow government, also known as the National Unity Government, made a statement saying they are ready to engage with the Thai government and international community to respond to people in need in Lay Kay Kaw. The Karen Women’s Organisation’s general secretary, Naw K’nyaw Paw, says “more than 1,000 people had been permitted to cross after community leaders negotiated with Thai officials.”

The fighting began on Wednesday, a day after state media claimed that junta soldiers had infiltrated Karen territory and arrested a number of dissidents, including a former MP from Aung San Suu Kyi’s deposed administration. The Karen National Union has been a strong opponent of the February 1 coup and has offered refuge to dissidents fighting to overthrow the government. There have been numerous violent and deadly clashes between the state military and the union’s armed wing along the Thai border.

SOURCE: AFP