Yesterday, Thai authorities sent 56 Karen refugees who fled airstrikes in Myanmar back to the neighbouring country.
The 56 Karen civilians fled across the border to the Salawin National Park in Ban Tha Ta Fung in tambon Mae Yuam in Mae Hong Son’s Mae Sariang district on Tuesday. Thai authorities have promised to send medical supplies to them later, authorities said.
However, the refugees were reluctant to return to the Myanmar side of the border because reports had emerged of possible renewed clashes along the border between the Myanmar army and the Karen National Union (KNU).
The influx of refugees started last week after the Myanmar army bombed territory controlled by the KNU, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.
About 3,000 Karen people fled across the border to Thailand. The air attacks began after the KNU joined protests against the military coup.
A 36-year-old villager named Chandee said that villagers in Ban Mae Sam Laep in Mae Hong Son’s Sop Moei district had been concerned about the clashes along the border.
The sounds of artillery and aircraft hovering around were clearly heard on the Myanmar side of the border.
The reports of air attacks on Karen villages in Myanmar scared Thais and many vendors had to escape to Mae Sariang district.
“Thai authorities should offer help to the refugees because they are in trouble,” Ms Chandee said.