Thousands fleeing Myanmar fighting cross Thai border

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News Desk

Thousands of people have fled into Thailand following fierce fighting between Myanmar rebels and the military, Thai officials said on Thursday.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government was toppled in an army coup two years ago.

Thai officials said skirmishes had broken out between Myanmar’s military and armed ethnic rebels near the Karen state outpost town of Myawaddy, bordering Thailand’s Tak province.

“Around 3,998 people have fled into Thailand’s temporary shelter” across 10 areas, a statement from Tak provincial officials said.

Government agencies and NGOs were providing people with food and water.

The Tak officials said local armed forces, police, and the civil administration were closely monitoring the situation.

Long-established ethnic rebel groups, as well as dozens of “People’s Defence Forces” militias, have emerged in opposition to the coup and clash frequently with the military.

Civilians are regularly forced to flee across the nearby Thai border as fighting threatens their homes.

Recent fighting between rebel groups, loosely affiliated militias, and the military has seen tensions in southeastern Karen state soar.

A leader of the anti-junta Karen National Army confirmed clashes in the area.

Padoh Saw Thamain Tun said some “2,000 people were displaced, crossed the border, come to Thai side.” Intense fighting in Karen state in January, around Kyonedoe and the border town of Payathonzu, also saw scores of civilians flee to Thailand.

More than 2,700 civilians have been killed in Myanmar since the military grabbed power in February 2021, according to a local monitoring group.The junta blames anti-coup fighters for a civilian death toll it has put at almost 3,900.

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