A first group of 41 Thais, left stranded in northeastern Myanmar due to clashes between Myanmar soldiers and ethnic rebel groups, has been evacuated from Laukkaing to Kengtung in Shan state to await repatriation to Thailand.
According to a report from the Pha Muang Force of the 3rd Army Region, the 41 Thais -- 23 men and 18 women -- arrived in Kengtung around 10.30pm on Wednesday.
They are to be repatriated through the Myanmar border town of Tachilek into Mae Sai district in the northern province of Chiang Rai.
The Thais remained in Kengtung as of press time on Thursday as a source at the Thai-Myanmar border said the planned repatriation had been delayed.
Moreover, a curfew is also imposed in Kengtung after 6pm, the source said.
Someone from the Immanuel Foundation, which coordinates the rescue of workers, speaking by phone, said the Myanmar authorities have yet to give the green light for the repatriation, though all 41 Thais are safe and hope to return home quickly.
But once the green light is given and all legal procedures are completed, they will proceed to the Mak Yang border checkpoint in Tachilek.
From Tachilek, they will be taken across the 2nd Friendship Bridge over the Mae Sai River into Mae Sai district.
They will then head to the 3rd Army Region's Meng Rai Maharat military camp in Chiang Rai.
There, they would undergo screening for communicable diseases, complete immigration procedures and meet officials from the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
They will also be allowed to meet with their relatives.
The army will continue collaborating with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and other relevant agencies to repatriate the remaining 246 Thais stranded in Laukkaing.