Myanmar refugees seek safety in Mae Hong Son

Myanmar refugees seek safety in Mae Hong Son

Aid given to civilians who fled fighting in Kayah State

MAE HONG SON: Thai authorities have rescued 3,342 Myanmar refugees who fled from a border war in Kayah State, according to provincial governor Chettha Mosikkharat.

The clash in Kayah State between the Karenni Army (KA), with support from the People's Defence Forces (PDFs) and the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), started on Monday with an attack on Mae Jae police station and three force bases in the state.

This was after a KA operation that saw it seize at least three bases, mostly on the opposite side of tambon Khun Yuam in Khun Yuam district.

Khu Nial, Kayah State's Minister of Internal Affairs, said the KA had attacked Mae Jae, located opposite the province's Baan Sao Hin.

The clash led to a flood of refugees entering the province through Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam districts.

According to Mr Chettha, 3,034 fled to Baan Sao Hin in Mae Sariang district, while the other 308 fled to Baan Pha Tho and Baan Pha Khe in Khun Yuam district's tambon Mae Khee.

Mae Hong Son's Provincial Border Operation Centre worked with soldiers, volunteers and the sub-district Administrative Office (SAO) to rescue the refugees.

The Naresuan Force and provincial administrative officers are keeping track of the clashes should any Thai nationals require assistance, as well as readying reconnaissance planes by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), added Mr Chettha.

Mr Chettha said the fighting had not yet affected Thailand's border, as the kingdom is neither involved in nor supporting any clashing sides.

Any parties using Thailand's border areas were doing so for their own benefit without any negotiations having been made, he added.

"Therefore, the authorities still prohibit Thai citizens from travelling to the conflict zone.

"We also ask the media to check any information before they publish news regarding the matter," said Mr Chettha.

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