Myanmar + 1 more

Myanmar: Karen rebels battle Burma troops near Thai border

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By Violet Cho

Fighting between the Burmese army and the Karen National Liberation Army broke out o­n Sunday about 10 km south of Mae Sot near the Thai-Burmese border in Thailand's Tak Province, according to leaders of the Karen National Union.

KNU General Secretary Mahn Sha told The Irrawaddy o­n Monday that "the clash between the Burmese army and a special battalion from KNU's 6th Brigade lasted for about a half-hour."

There were no serious casualties o­n either side, said Shee Lay, a member of the KNU's Central Committee. "Currently, the Burmese government has increased their [forces] in KNU territory and has shelled KNU positions daily. I believe there will be more fighting in the coming days," Shee Lay said.

Mahn Sha said that clashes between the Karen rebels and the Tatmadaw [Armed Forces] happen nearly every day, particularly in northern Karen State.

He added that the fighting o­n Sunday sent about 200 villagers towards the Thailand-Burma border to seek shelter at Ei Tu Hta, a makeshift refugee camp across from Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province.

"Ongoing fighting between the KNU and the Burmese army will push more people to come to the camp," said a member of the Karen Refugee Committee in Mae Hong Son.

Attacks by the Burmese army have displaced as many as 27,000 Karen civilians since November 2006, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.