News / Asia

    Thousands Flee Post-Election Fighting in Burma

    Burmese citizens line up for food at the Border Patrol Police base in Thailand's Mae Sot town following fighting between Myanmar soldiers and ethnic Karen fighters, 08 Nov. 2010.
    Burmese citizens line up for food at the Border Patrol Police base in Thailand's Mae Sot town following fighting between Myanmar soldiers and ethnic Karen fighters, 08 Nov. 2010.

    Thousands of people in eastern Burma have fled into neighboring Thailand to escape fighting between an ethnic militia and the Burmese military that erupted just one day after the military-ruled country's first elections in 20 years - dismissed by critics as a sham.

    At least 3,000 people poured over Burma's eastern border into Mae Sot, Thailand, on Monday, after members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and Burma's military clashed in the town of Myawaddy, just across from Mae Sot.

    Hundreds of the men, women, and children crossed over the Moei River dividing the two countries and were given refuge in a Buddhist temple.

    Bamyar Htaw lives in Myawaddy, but says he crossed over from Burma after hearing gunfire and seeing a man on a motorcycle get shot. Burmese soldiers do not like the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, he says, so that is why they exchanged gunfire.  He adds that he no longer feels safe to live there.

    Casualty figures on the Burmese side of the border could not be confirmed. Violence also spilled over to the Thai side.

    Gunfire and rocket propelled grenades [RPGs} were shot from Burma into Mae Sot, causing several casualties.

    At least one grenade hit a shop near the Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge. Blood stains spattered the floor and sidewalk. A truck parked out front was damaged and the lifeless body of a dog lay nearby.

    Thai military and police increased security along the border, cutting off traffic and moving the public from the area. Heavily armed Thai soldiers set up maps near the bridge, and discussed options for retaliation if there were more attacks.

    Border Patrol Police Officer, Captain Winyoo Pornpratoom says there were at least three RPGs fired from Burma into Thailand, including one that hit a school.

    In the morning, he says, he got a report from a teacher at the Huay Muang school that there was an RPG that landed on the roof.  He says he found parts of the RPG that exploded into five pieces.  Initially, he says, it did not work properly and no one got hurt.  

    Thai security later walked thousands of people fleeing the fighting to a border police bureau. Authorities erected large canvas tents to shield them from the hot sun and brought in water and food.

    The fighting began Sunday, as military-ruled Burma held its first elections in two decades.

    The government says the vote is part of a plan to return the country to civilian rule, but critics say it was engineered to keep the military in power. The Burmese army says it must retain a significant role in the government to keep various ethnic minority militias from trying to divide the country.

    Some of the militias are resisting government demands to join a national border guard.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora