Nearly 250 Thai residents in Northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son have fled their villages following skirmishes in Myanmar. Myanmar security forces and armed ethnic factions operating are presently fighting in areas adjacent to the Thai-Myanmar border.
A Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson told CTN news that based on information received from the Defence Ministry, the clashes could affect certain border areas in Northern Thailand.
The ministry reported that on April 27 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 northern Thailand’s Salween National Park in Mae Hong Son.
Three KNU soldiers and one Myanmar army officer were reportedly killed during the armed clashes.
The armed clashes caused about 250 Thai people to flee their villages.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 also those who seek refuge at temporary shelters, under strict covid-19 control measures, the spokesman said.
The 36th Ranger Forces Regiment in northern Thailand has moved some of the villagers to a local 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 also closed the border checkpoint at Mae Sam Laep and have prohibited all boats on the Salween River yesterday.
Meanwhile, in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province, security officers are monitoring the situation on the opposite side of the border. This comes 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 in Kanchanaburi province.
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 of further violence.
A checkpoint was set up on Highway 323 near Three Pagodas Pass to stop people from going near the Thai-Myanmar border until the situation returns to normal.