More than 2,500 flee to Thailand as rebels clash with Myanmar army

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By Reuters
More than 2,500 flee to Thailand as rebels clash with Myanmar army

<div> <p> -At least 2,500 people including hundreds of children have fled a flare-up in fighting between the Myanmar army and ethnic minority rebels and have taken refuge across the border in Thailand, Thai authorities and an aid group said.</p> <p>Those displaced had poured into the Thai town of Mae Sot after fighting in the past few days between the Karen National Union (<span class="caps">KNU</span>) and Myanmar’s army, Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj, deputy governor of western Tak province, told a news conference.</p> <p>Myanmar was plunged into turmoil when the military ousted a civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, triggering protests in cities and sporadic clashes in the countryside between anti-junta militia and the army.</p> <p>There has also been intensified fighting at times between the army and ethnic minority insurgents in border areas, like the <span class="caps">KNU</span>, Myanmar’s oldest rebel force https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/karen-rebels-step-up-attacks-myanmar-army-struggles-rule-2021-04-27.</p> <p>Somchai put the number of displaced on the Thai side of the border at 2,503. Ye Min, an official at the Aid Alliance Committee, a Thai-based Myanmar migrants group, said that total included 545 children.</p> <p>“We are providing food assistance working together with Thai authorities,” Ye Min said by telephone, adding most of the displaced were from Lay Kay Kaw and other villages.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">KNU</span> has been seeking self-determination in a region of about 1.6 million people. </p> <p>The <span class="caps">KNU</span> said in a social media post said four Myanmar soldiers were killed and four wounded during the fighting on Wednesday. </p> <p>A report by Public Voice Television, which is backed by Myanmar’s shadow government, posted photographs it said showed seized weapons and eight captured members of the Myanmar security forces. </p> <p>It said 18 government soldiers had been killed. </p> <p>Reuters could not independently verify the claims and a spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta did not answer a call seeking comment.</p> <p>Tak provincial authorities said there was a clash between the army and the <span class="caps">KNU</span> on Thursday about 500 metres (550 yards) from the Thai border.</p> <p>It said a shell had fallen on the Thai side of the border though had not caused harm or damage, and Thai forces had intensified patrols in the area.</p> </div>