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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid