Local news

New round of air strikes against Karens as more refugees cross over

MYANMAR Air Force again bombed a Karen National Union (KNU) base within its zone of control yesterday afternoon (March 28) after the first aerial assault the previous day leading to more refugees fleeing across the border to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province, Sanook.com reported this morning (March 29).

At around 4.15 p.m. yesterday Myanmar Air Force sent four Chinese-made JF 17 aircraft from  Taungoo base to hit KNU’s Chikitha Base, where its 5th Brigade is based and this being opposite Mae Hong Son’s Mae Sariang district. One Karen soldier died in the raid and two were wounded.

Fighting also erupted yesterday between another armed group, the Kachin Independence Army, and the Myanmar military in the jade-mining area of Hpakant in the north. The Kachin forces attacked a police station and the military responded with an aerial assault, Kachinwaves media reported.

The new air strikes led to a total of 1,900 people fleeing the Karen state to Thailand. They came in separate groups with two totalling 300 each first crossing over then a larger group 1,300 doing so. This adds up to 2,194 Karen refugees currently sheltering in Thailand.

Mae Hong Son Governor Mr. Sithichai Jindaluang said the situation in Myanmar had intensified leading to 2,194 people escaping to Thailand and more are expected to do so.

The province is awaiting an order from the central government on taking care of the refugees and has already prepared a support area in Khun Yuam district. This is a different area from where they are currently held with the 6th Rangers Regiment, Mae Sariang, in charge of the primary supervision.

An administrative official in Mae Sariang said officials did not have all the details about the refugees because the area they are in is under military responsibility and other agencies are prohibited from going there.


A pixelated image of Karen refugees who crossed to Thailand over the weekend. Photo: Sanook.com

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