Thailand preparing for expected refugee influx as citizens flee Myanmar

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday (March 29) his government is preparing for a potential flood of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

Heavy fighting has erupted between the army and some of the two dozen ethnic armed groups in Myanmar that control swathes of the country. About 3,000 people fled to neighbouring Thailand after military jets bombed areas controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) militia near the border, an activist group and media said.

“Please let this be an internal issue for us. We don’t want to have an exodus and evacuations into our territory but we will observe human rights too,” Prayuth told reporters when asked about a weekend of violence in Myanmar during anti-coup demonstrations.

“We have prepared an area for them to stay first after they crossed over. We talk about the numbers later. We’re not going to talk about a (permanent) shelter yet, we’re not there yet.”

At least three civilians were killed on Saturday (March 27) in an air attack by the military on a village controlled by the KNU, a civil society group said. The militia earlier said it had overrun an army post near the border, killing 10 people. Fighting also erupted on Sunday (March 28) between another armed group, the Kachin Independence Army, and the military in the jade-mining area of Hpakant in the north. The Kachin forces attacked a police station and the military responded with an aerial assault, Kachinwaves media reported.

via Reuters

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