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Burmese military in a shootout near Thai border

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Gunfights broke out alarmingly close to the Thai border.

Burmese military exchanged gunfire with unknown opposition last night opposite the Three Pagodas Pass near the Myanmar-Thailand border. Local media reports that gunshots broke out around 10:30 pm when members of the 32nd Infantry Battalion of the Burmese army fired at as-yet-unidentified armed fighters.

The exchange took place in Payathonzu, a town near the Thai border in the Burmese Karen State in the south of the country. The city is separated from the border with Thailand by the Three Pagoda Pass. The border is only about 15 minutes away, with the Tenasserim Hills forming the land border to Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province and the border town of Sangkhla Buri.

The skirmish was so close to the Thai border that the booming sounds of gunshots, grenades and explosions could be clearly heard in Tambon Nong Lu in Thailand in the area of Phra Chedi Sam Ong, the Thai name for Three Pagoda Pass. The Sangkhla Buri district chief came out to the border town to assess the situation.

Though there were no reported casualties, tensions were raised and security forces were dispatched to monitor the borderline. The Lat Ya Task Force is the group responsible in Sangkhla Buri for patrolling the Burmese border, and their soldiers were sent out to tighten security in the area. No group has come forward to identify or claim responsibility for the unknown forces opposing the military.

This attack is likely another of many clashes with the Burmese military as protesters clash with the military junta that overthrew the government February 1 and have pushed to suppress dissent with often bloody confrontations claiming the lives of over 700 civilians already.

Yesterday a meeting of ASEAN leaders in Jakarta produced amiable communication lines, but no concrete resolution beyond Burmese military leaders agreeing to consider 6 contention points including allowing an envoy of ASEAN delegates and humanitarian aid into Myanmar.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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