Thailand – Hundreds of people, many of them children, have escaped a flare-up in violence between the Myanmar army and an ethnic minority rebel group, according to Thai officials and an aid worker.
Around 700 people escaped to the Thai town of Mae Sot after clashes between the Karen National Union (KNU) and Myanmar’s army, officials in western Thailand’s border province of Tak said in a statement.
Ye Min, a representative of the Aid Alliance Committee, a Myanmar migrants organization located in Thailand, claimed 2,503 individuals, including 545 children, were seeking refuge on the Thai side of the border.
“We are assisting the Thai government in giving food assistance,” Ye Min said by telephone, adding that the majority of the displaced were from Lay Kay Kaw and nearby villages.
Myanmar descended into chaos on Feb. 1 when the military deposed a civilian administration headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking demonstrations in cities and intermittent confrontations between anti-junta militia and the army in the countryside.
Additionally, there has been increased combat between the army and insurgent organizations in Myanmar’s border regions, such as the KNU, which is Myanmar’s oldest rebel force and has been fighting for self-determination in a territory of around 1.6 million people.
According to the KNU, during Wednesday’s combat, four Myanmar troops were killed and four were injured.
A broadcast by Public Voice Television, which is sponsored by Myanmar’s defunct shadow government, included images of confiscated weapons and eight detained security forces personnel. According to the report, 18 Myanmar government troops were killed.
According to Tak province officials, a battle between the Myanmar army and the KNU occurred on Thursday just 500 metres (547 yards) from the Thai border.
It said that a shell landed on the Thai side of the border but did not result in any injuries or damage, and the Thai military increased patrols in the region.