A military base in Myanmar near the Thai border was reportedly taken over by an ethnic army. Since the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, ousting the country’s democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, an estimated 750 protesters and civilians have been killed by security forces, leading to clashes with ethnic armies.
Many ethnic armies support the anti-coup movement, including the Karen National Union which has had clashes with the Myanmar military for the past few weeks. Numerous ethnic armies control around a third of Myanmar’s territory, primarily along the country’s borders.
Early this morning, a fight broke out in the Karen state by the Salween River, along the Thai-Myanmar border. The battle was so close that some in Thailand could hear the gunshots and explosions from the neighbouring country.
The head of foreign affairs for the union told AFP reports that its “troops captured the Burmese military camp” near the border of Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province. The fights took place around 5am this morning… An ethnic Karen and longtime resident in the province’s Mae Sam Laep district told reporters that she could hear the gunshots.
“We could hear from the other side, we could hear the bullets… We saw five or six Burmese soldiers run down to the river and then we saw KNU shoot them but it was very dark.”
The Karen army overran a military base last month, but the country’s junta later fought back at night with airstrikes. Luckily, many villagers fled the area once the fighting started. Around 2,000 have sought refuge in Thailand. More than 24,000 civilians in the Karen state have been displaced in recent weeks as the conflict between the ethnic army and the junta intensifies.
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