About 20,000 Burmese refugees have poured into Thailand after fighting broke out just across the border.
Border battle spurs exodus
Thousands flee to Thai side as clashes erupt
Thousands of Burmese civilians have fled across the border into Thailand after fierce fighting between Karen rebels and Burmese government forces erupted along the border.
At least 10 people, including Thais and Burmese villagers, were wounded when stray shells landed on Thai territory during yesterday’s battle.
Sources inside Myawaddy, the Burmese border town opposite Mae Sot district in Tak and one of the main scenes of yesterday’s battle, estimated casualties there at three deaths and more than 20 injured.
The clashes yesterday between Burmese troops and Karen minority rebels opposite Tak and Kanchanaburi came just one day after Burma held its first election in 20 years.
The fierce fighting forced at least 20,000 Burmese, mostly Karen civilians, to flee across the border into Thailand.
Villagers living in areas at risk on the Thai side of the border were evacuated to safer areas.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand would provide humanitarian assistance to the Burmese civilians who fled into the country. However, he said Thailand would not interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbour.
Mr Abhisit predicted the unrest at the border could continue for as long as three months.
Third Army commander Wannatip Wongwai yesterday ordered troops not to fire back into Burma after several shells strayed into Thai territory during the fighting.
Five Thais and five Burmese nationals were wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade fired from Myawaddy exploded in Mae Sot.
The fighting erupted after 1,000 soldiers from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) stormed a military camp in Myawaddy yesterday morning.
‘‘I heard gunfire start about 9am and my family has crossed [the border],’’ said a former Burma military official who now runs a business in Myawaddy.
The DKBA opened the border bridge to allow people to flee the city. Thousands poured into Thailand.
The Burmese army has completely blocked the road from Myawaddy to the coastal township of Moulmein at Kawkareik.
A woman who requested anonymity said her son who lives in Myawaddy told her a rocket landed in front of the Starlight Hotel, killing many people and injuring others.
The Burmese civilians who fled across the Moei River to Thailand were allowed to take refuge at the 346th Border Patrol Police unit in Mae Sot district’s tambon Tha Sai Luad.
More than 300 border patrol police, military rangers and volunteers guarded the shelter area as Burmese refugees continued to arrive.
Lt Gen Wannathip said Burmese troops would try to retake complete control of the border area from the DKBA.
Tak governor Samat Loyfa ordered the closure of all roads leading to the border. Thais living along the border in Mae Sot, including traders at Rim Moei border market near the Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge, were evacuated.
Government offices and schools in the area have been closed temporarily.
A military source said heavily armed DKBA forces led by Col Na Kaw Muay, had moved to Myawaddy and managed to take over several areas in the town.
The fighting erupted after the rebels rejected the Burmese army’s demand for them to withdraw.
The DKBA was supported by the Karen National Union, another anti-junta group, in its battle against Burmese troops yesterday, the source said.
spur – to cause something to happen ก่อให้เกิด
exodus – a situation in which a lot of people leave a place or activity at the same time การจากไปของผู้คนเป็นจำนวนมาก
flee (past form: fled) – to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger หนี อพยพ
clash – a fight between groups of people การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น เกิดขึ้นอย่างกะทันหัน
civilians – people who are not members of the police or armed forces พลเรือน
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต
fierce – very strong รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
rebel – of people who try to remove a government or leader by force ผู้ก่อกบฏ
wounded – injured, especially where your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously บาดเจ็บ
stray – away from the correct place or path พลัดหลง, หลงทาง
shell – a weapon consisting of a metal container filled with a substance that explodes, fired from a large gun กระสุนปืนใหญ่
battle – a fight between two armies in a war การสู้รบ
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
casualties – deaths and injuries ผู้บาดเจ็บ เสียชีวิต
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
troops – soldiers, especially in large numbers กองทหาร
minority – of a part of a population that is different in race, religion or culture from most of the population ชนกลุ่มน้อย
at risk – in danger ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
evacuate – to cause to leave a place because it is not safe เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก
humanitarian – relating to efforts to help people who are living in very bad conditions and are suffering because of a war, flood, earthquake etc มีมนุษยธรรม
assistance – help; aid ความช่วยเหลือ
interfere – to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this แทรกแซง
affairs – political, social, and economic events that are happening now กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ, การเมือง
internal – existing or happening within a country, not between different countries ภายใน
internal affairs – political, social, and economic events that are happening now within a country กิจการภายใน, เรื่องภายใน
predict – to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
unrest – angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
commander – the head of an army or army unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
territory – an area of land controlled by a particular country, leader or army อาณาบริเวณ อาณาเขตประเทศ
rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) – any hand-held, shoulder-launched weapon capable of firing an unguided rocket equipped with an explosive warhead
storm – to use force to try to enter a place บุก, เดินฝ่าเข้าไป
pour into – (of people) to enter in large numbers ไหลเข้า
block – to stop someone or something from moving through or along something else ปิดกั้น
coastal– of an area of land beside the sea แนวชายฝั่งทะเล
anonymity – when someone's name is not given or known การไม่ระบุชื่อ
take refuge – to go to a place which provides protection or shelter from danger or trouble ลี้ภัย
rangers –soldiers who are specially trained to make surprise attacks on an enemy ทหารเฉพาะกิจสำหรับสงครามกองโจรหรือการจู่โจมอย่างกะทันหัน
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
shelter – a place where people are protected from danger or bad weather; a temporary place to stay ที่หลบภัย ที่พักชั่วคราว
refugee – someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event ผู้ลี้ภัย
trader – someone who buys and sells things ผู้ค้า
temporarily – for a limited period of time ชั่วคราว
armed – carrying weapons ติดอาวุธพร้อม
reject – to not agree with a request, offer or proposal ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
demand – a very firm statement that you want something คำขอร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
withdraw – to take or move out or back ถอนตัวจาก
junta – a group of military officers that governs a country, usually without having been elected รัฐบาลทหาร
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