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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More