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Karen Villagers Seek Refuge in Thailand


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Karen Villagers Seek Refuge in Thailand


By SAW YAN NAING Friday, June 5, 2009



More then 700 ethnic Karen villagers in Pa-an District in Karen State in eastern Burma have fled to Thailand in fear of more clashes between Karen troops and breakaway Karen armed groups and the Burmese army, according to Karen sources.


Karen relief and human rights organizations said that the exodus to Thailand started on June 1 after clashes between the Burmese army and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a breakaway group, began with troops of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).


An ethnic Karen cries in a cradle in Mae La camp, near the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Sot district, Tak province of Thailand. (Photo: Reuters)

Villagers fled to avoid the violence and to escape from being used as “minesweepers” or as forced labor as military porters during the fighting, said Karen sources.


Joint Burmese and DKBA soldiers attacked KNLA Brigade 7 multiple times in early June. The latest fighting was on Thursday.


Brig-Gen Johnny, the commander of Brigade 7, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that Burmese army and DKBA troops are reinforcing for more attacks. He confirmed that the recent attacks were launched by Burmese battalions under Light Infantry Division 22 and DKBA Battalion 999.


Karen refugees are now staying in Ta Song Yang District in Tak Province in Thailand, according to the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).


Read more on Thaigers Thailand Forum

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