12,000 refugees from Myanmar depart Tak

Thai officials see off Myanmar refugees leaving Mae Sot district of Tak province for Myawaddy on Wednesday. Picture courtesy of the Royal Thai Army

Around 12,000 Myanmar refugees returned to their homeland in Myawaddy this week after seeking temporary refuge on Thai territory over the past week, according to the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

Maj. Gen. Sirichan Ngathong, the RTA deputy spokesperson, confirmed yesterday that the last 89 Myanmar refugees who were sheltering in tambon Mae Kasa of Mae Sot district departed on Wednesday.

The 12,479 Myanmar refugees had been accommodated across 15 designated locations in Mae Sot and Mae Ramat districts since April 5.

Members of the Naresuan task force continue to maintain security along the border in both districts, added Maj Gen Sirichan.

The influx of refugees occurred when Karen rebels attempted to seize control of the Ban Tee Ko Tor area in Myanmar’s Myawaddy province, just 3 kilometres from the Thai border.

The political situation in Myanmar escalated this week with northwest Myanmar’s Sagaing area feeling the full force of a junta airstrike on Tuesday, which reportedly wiped out up to 100 people – children included.

Myanmar’s been a mess since the 2021 coup decided to ruin everyone’s lives and snuffed out a decade of shaky progress. The coup put an end to the civilian government guided by none other than Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun did his best to justify the airstrike, saying it was all in the name of restoring peace and stability.

National Unity Government spokesman Kyaw Zaw wasn’t buying it, though. He guesses that nearly 100 people met their end in the attack, which involved air force jets and helicopter gunships swooping in without mercy. He slammed the military’s actions as “senseless, barbaric, brutal.”

The aftershocks have rippled across the border as Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha keeps tabs on Myanmar refugees seeking sanctuary in various districts of Thailand. But with chaos reigning supreme, there’s no telling what’s coming next.


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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.