GUNS fell silent in Myawaddy, opposite Thailand’s Mae Sot district, today (Dec.18) after Myanmar junta troops and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) fighters agreed to a temporary ceasefire stopping a battle that raged for three days, Thai Rath newspaper said.
Preliminary reports indicated that 20 Myanmar junta troops and members of the Border Guard Forces had been killed and eight captured in the fighting with KNLA and members of People’s Defence Force (PDF) civilian resistance groups. Lots of weapons had also been seized.
The 2,676 Myanmar villagers who had fled across the Moei river to Mae Sot for safety and were being sheltered at Mae Tao Klang School were overjoyed at hearing about the ceasefire.
As of midday 178 Myanmar refugees voluntarily asked to be repatriated to their homeland and Thai officials brought two 10-wheel trucks to take the first groups to Ban Mae Ku Luang and Ban Don Chai Rim Moei natural crossings for them to safely go home.
Later the remaining 2,498 refugees staying at this Thai school too asked to be repatriated to their country and the process of helping them cross back is currently underway.
Ms Mate, 45, one of the Myanmar people who fled the fighting, said the clashes frightened her particularly the possibility of her two small children being hit by bullets. She carried them both and crossed over to Mae Sot on a longtail boat for temporary shelter. Now that the fighting had stopped she voluntarily asked to be sent back because she is afraid of losing belongings in their home as everyone in her family had fled to the Thai side just as she did.
Myanmar refugees getting ready to return to Myawaddy from Mae Sot. Photos: Thai Rath