FIGHTING between Myanmar junta forces and Karenni armed groups just across the border from Mae Hong Son intensified yesterday (June 17) with the former launching 13 airstrikes against the latter, Naewna newspaper said today (June 18).
Thai security forces said that Myanmar junta’s 430th Rapid Mobility Battalion continued to clash heavily with Karenni Army (KA), Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and People’s Defence Force (PDF), the loosely organised armed wing of the pro-democracy National Unity Government, around eight to 10 kilometres from Mae Ngao subdistrict, Khun Yuam district, Mae Hong Son province.
Myanmar junta’s military aircraft strafed Karenni positions 13 times from 7.30 a.m. onwards yesterday with the sound of the airstrikes clearly heard on the Thai side.
It appears that Myanmar soldiers at Doi Nam Phong base had detected movement of Karenni fighters and had requested for air support.
At 6 p.m. yesterday the Thai-Myanmar Border Command Centre in Mae Hong Son said in the fifth statement that the two sides are still fighting in an area opposite Sao Hin subdistrict, Mae Sariang district, and Mae Ngao subdistrict, Khun Yuam district.
More people have now fled the fighting to the Thai side with the total number of refugees increasing to 3,879 and they have been camped in two temporary safe areas.
At the Sao Hin camp, Mae Sariang district, the 128 new arrivals raised the total from 3,076 to 3,204 refugees while at Mae Ki camp, Khun Yuam district, 80 more joined in with the total going up from 593 to 673 refugees.
Refugees taking shelter at two camps in Mae Hong Son province. Photos: Naewna