More than 2,500 people, including hundreds of children, have fled to the Thai border in the face of fierce fighting between Myanmar’s military and ethnic minority rebels.
Thai authorities and a relief organization said. These displaced people have gathered in the town of Mae Sot in Thailand.
The deputy governor of Thailand’s Tak province said at a news conference that a large number of people had fled after fighting between the Karen National Union (KNU), an armed rebel group in Myanmar, and the army in recent days.
Protests have been raging in Myanmar since the military overthrew its democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in February.
In addition to protests in various cities, there have been sporadic clashes between anti-junta militias and the army in rural areas. From time to time, the army has been battling more ethnic minority rebels, such as the Karen rebel group.
Somchai, deputy governor of the Thai province of Tak, said 2,503 people had been displaced along the Thai border. Of those, 545 were children, said Ye Min, an official with the Aid Alliance Committee, a Thai-based Myanmar refugee rights group.
“We are feeding them, working closely with the Thai authorities,” he said over the phone.
The Karen National Union (KNU) is trying to establish self-determination in that part of Myanmar. In a post on social media, the rebel group claimed that four Myanmar soldiers had been killed and four others wounded in Wednesday’s fighting.
In addition, Myanmar’s anti-junta shadow government-backed ‘Public Voice TV’ showed some pictures in its report, saying that six members of the security forces had been detained, including the seizure of weapons by the Myanmar army. It is also claimed that 18 government soldiers were killed in the fighting.
However, the news agency Reuters could not verify the news from neutral sources. Myanmar’s military junta has not commented.
Authorities in Tak province say clashes broke out between the Karen National Union and Myanmar’s army about 500 meters from the Thai border on Thursday. During the fighting, shells were fired at the Thai side of the border. However, no casualties were reported. Thai forces have intensified patrols in the area.