Reinforcements sent to Myanmar camp where riot erupted

Reinforcements sent to Myanmar camp where riot erupted

Security personnel wait outside the Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district of Tak on Thursday. (Photo: Assawin Pinitwong)
Security personnel wait outside the Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district of Tak on Thursday. (Photo: Assawin Pinitwong)

TAK: Security authorities sent reinforcements to the Myanmar refugee camp where a riot erupted on Tuesday night and insisted on legal action against dissident refugees.

Paramilitary rangers, border patrol police, local administrators and territorial defence volunteers were deployed around the perimeter of the Mae La refugee camp in tambon Mae La on Thursday in a bid to prevent another riot. However, officials were still unable to enter the camp that lodges about 40,000 Myanmar nationals.

Representatives of the refugees stood firm on their demand that an assistant chief of Tha Song Yang district be removed as the chief of the refugee camp, territorial defence volunteers leave the camp and four refugees detained for suspected wrongdoing be released.

Pol Col Paithoon Sukhumwathana, deputy commander of Tak police, said on Thursday that refugees must stay inside the camp and anyone who exited it would be arrested.

Officials were negotiating with heads of refugees' zones inside the camp and asked them to persuade their followers not to instigate another riot.

Suspected rioters would be arrested, Pol Col Paithoon said.

He also said that when order was restored in the camp, officials would survey damage on the inside and police would receive complaints about the damage.

About 1,000 refugees reportedly started the riot at the biggest camp of Myanmar refugees on Tuesday night.

They destroyed and torched offices, houses, shops and vehicles. Media reported that they damaged two offices, a meeting room, about 10 security kiosks, about 40 houses of officials and territorial defence volunteers, and about 80 motorcycles and cars.

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