WITH fierce battles between Myanmar junta troops and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) fighters, backed by Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA), raging in Laukkaing city, in Kokang autonomous region, thousands of people including 41 Thais have fled and are waiting to cross Mongyang state checkpoint to safety but only very few are being allowed to do so, Naewna newspaper said.
Tachileik News Agency, a local news outlet at the Myanmar township right across Thailand’s Mae Sai town, quoted Wa state officials as saying that they helped the 41 Thais who were trapped in Kokang to reach Mongyang checkpoint and expect that they will be transferred to Tachileik and then to Thailand today.
However there are reports that heavy fighting had now spread to the middle of Laukkaing city leading to thousands of people fleeing into Wa state then gathering at Mongyang checkpoint to cross over to a safer zone.
Yet Myanmar junta officials are only allowing a trickle to pass each day with 140 permitted to do so on Tuesday (Nov. 14) and 100 yesterday (Nov. 15) which is a very small number compared to the thousands who have fled the danger of heavy battle and need to reach safer areas.
Meanwhile Col. Natee Thimsen, head Chao Tak Army Special Forces, who heads the Thai representatives in Thai-Myanmar Border Consortium (TBC), has contacted Tachileik authorities about the fate of the 41 Thais, 23 men and 18 women.
He was told that they had already left Muang Yang and were being taken to Kengtung where Myanmar army’s headquarters is located and from there it will take four hours for them to reach Tachileik.
However it is still unclear when all these 41 Thais will cross back with there also being another 240 Thais remaining in Shan state who officials are trying to bring back home.
Top: People waiting to cross Muang Yang checkpoint to safety.
Insert: A Myanmar army officer checking papers at Muang Yang checkpoint . Both photos: Naewna
Also read: 84 Thai women now entrapped in Shan State