Conflicts & War

Thousands cross into Thailand fleeing Myanmar military strikes

Bangkok, Mar 7 (EFE).- At least 6,000 people in Myanmar have fled to neighboring Thailand in the past two days escaping heavy fighting between the Burmese army and ethnic armed guerrillas, local media reported Friday.

It is one of the most significant cross-border migrations since a military coup in 2021.

Sources from the Karen National Liberation Army told Myanmar Now that most of the displacement came after military junta forces attacked Hti Kaw Htaw and other villages near the Thaung Yin (Moei) River, close to the border with Thailand, with artillery and air strikes.

The shelling came after Karen guerrillas and People’s Defense Forces fighters attacked pro-military militia posts in Hti Kaw Htaw, near the Shwe Kokko-Yatai casino resort, on Wednesday.

The complex, which is owned by Chinese company Yatai International Holdings, has been criticized for hosting illegal casinos and being a center for human trafficking.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 17.6 million Burmese people – a third of the population – are in need of humanitarian aid and 1.8 million are displaced.

Most of them have been displaced since the coup two years ago, which has plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis and triggered a spiral of violence with new anti-junta militias (known as People’s Defence Forces) that have exacerbated the country’s decades-long rebel ethnic conflicts.

The military junta justified the coup citing alleged electoral fraud during the 2020 elections, which Nobel peace laureate, democracy icon and de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi won overwhelmingly, as she did in 2015, with the endorsement of international observers.

More than 3,200 people have been killed in the brutal crackdown by security forces, who have shot to kill peaceful, unarmed protesters, while more than 17,000 people remain in detention, including the deposed Suu Kyi and other members of her government, according to the latest figures from the Burmese NGO Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners. EFE


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