Myanmar conflict surge: Over 3,300 refugees seek shelter in Thailand

Photo courtesy of Free Burma Rangers via AP Newsroom

The conflict in Myanmar‘s Kayah State has led to a new surge of refugees seeking shelter in Thailand. Provincial Governor Chettha Mosikkharat confirmed that Thai authorities have rescued 3,342 refugees who fled the border war.

The fighting in Kayah State involves the Karenni Army (KA), backed by the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) and the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), and began with an attack on Mae Jae Police Station and three military bases. This escalation in the Myanmar conflict followed a previous KA operation which captured at least three bases near Tambon Khun Yuam in the Khun Yuam district, Bangkok Post reported.

Khu Nial, Minister of Internal Affairs for Kayah State, reported that the attack on Mae Jae occurred across from Thailand’s Baan Sao Hin in Mae Hong Son province. Consequently, an influx of refugees entered the province through Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam districts. Governor Chettha noted that 3,034 individuals sought refuge in Baan Sao Hin in Mae Sariang district, while another 308 fled to Baan Pha Tho and Baan Pha Khe in Khun Yuam district’s Tambon Mae Khee.

Efforts to aid the refugees have been undertaken by Mae Hong Son’s Provincial Border Operation Centre, which is working in collaboration with soldiers, volunteers, and the sub-district Administrative Office (SAO). In addition, the Naresuan Force and provincial administrative officers are monitoring the ongoing conflict, standing ready to assist Thai nationals if necessary. Governor Chettha also mentioned that reconnaissance planes from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) are being prepared.

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Despite the unrest, Chettha emphasised that the fighting in Kayah State has not yet affected Thailand’s border, as the country is not involved in or supporting any of the conflicting parties. He added that any groups utilising Thailand’s border areas for their benefit do not have any official agreements in place. Therefore, Thai authorities continue to prohibit their citizens from travelling to the conflict zone, while also urging the media to verify any information they publish related to the situation.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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