Thai Residents Flee Villages Following Skirmishes Near Myanmar Border

Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Tanee Sangrat
Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Tanee Sangrat

Two hundred and fifty Thai residents from Mae Sam Laep in Mae Hong Son have fled to nearby villages following skirmishes between Myanmar security forces and armed factions operating in areas adjacent to the Thai-Myanmar border.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said based on information received from the Defence Ministry, the clashes could affect certain areas in Thailand.

The ministry reported that on 27th April the Karen National Union (KNU) and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) launched attacks on a Myanmar military outpost on the opposite side of Mae Sam Laep Village. An aerial attack also took place in Myanmar opposite Salween National Park.

Three KNU soldiers and one Myanmar army officer were reportedly killed during the clashes.

The attacks caused the 250 villagers to flee, and local authorities along with security forces have already rendered assistance to them, the ministry said.

Thai security agencies will accommodate those fleeing the situation in Myanmar to cross the border into Thailand and who seek refuge at temporary shelters, under strict disease control measures, the spokesman said.

The 36th Ranger Forces Regiment in Mae Sariang moved some of the villagers to Ban Hong Kat School, which is located around four kilometres away from the site of the attacks. Their village is situated less than 400 metres from where the clashes took place.

Mae Hong Son authorities closed a border checkpoint at Mae Sam Laep and prohibited boats on the Salween River yesterday.

In Kanchanaburi, security officers were monitoring the situation on the opposite side of the border, 24 hours after two unidentified teenagers threw a grenade at Phaya Tongsu Chedi checkpoint in Myanmar. Myanmar soldiers opened fire and threw a grenade back at them.

The clash took place around 10-20 metres from the border post in Sangkhla Buri district.

The checkpoint was not damaged and no Thai nationals were injured. Vendors at the nearby Three Pagodas Market packed up their stalls and left the area fearing further violence.

A checkpoint was set up on Highway 323 near Three Pagodas Pass to stop people from going near the border until the situation returns to normal.