World Thousands poised to flee to Thailand due to violence in Myanmar
ASEAN urged to consider Myanmar’s expulsion over coup abuses
Analysts and former diplomats say the summit could be the most consequential in ASEAN’s 54-year history. It was imperative there was “a concrete and tangible outcome,” said Rizal Sukma, a senior research fellow at the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies and, until last year, Indonesia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. “The summit cannot be another round of expression of concern.” Malaysia and the Philippines have said they would support a plan for the ASEAN chair, Brunei, and the group’s secretary-general, or their representatives, to visit Myanmar.
Thousands of ethnic Karen villagers in Myanmar are poised to cross into Thailand on Friday if, as expected, fighting intensifies between the Myanmar army and Karen fighters, joining those who have already escaped the turmoil that followed a February 1 coup.
Karen rebels and the Myanmar army have clashed near the Thai border in the weeks since Myanmar’s generals deposed an elected government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi, displacing villagers on both sides of the border.
Junta crackdown displaced nearly 250,000 people in Myanmar: UN envoy
The Myanmar military's crackdown on anti-coup protesters has displaced close to a quarter of a million people, a United Nations rights envoy said Wednesday. The junta has stepped up its use of lethal force to quash mass demonstrations against a February 1 coup which ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. At least 738 people have been killed and 3,300 are languishing in jails as political prisoners, according to a local monitoring group. © ROMEO GACAD A truck with logs in Yangon as the US Treasury on April 21, 2020 placed Myanmar state-owned timber and pearl businesses on its sanctions blacklist "Horrified to learn that...
“People say the Burmese will come and shoot us, so we fled here,” Chu Wah, a Karen villager who crossed over to Thailand with his family this week from the Ee Thu Hta displacement camp in Myanmar, told the Reuters news agency.
“I had to flee across the river,” Chu Wah said, referring to the Salween river that forms the border in the area.
The Karen Peace Support Network says thousands of villagers are taking shelter on the Myanmar side of the Salween and they will flee to Thailand if the fighting escalates.
“In coming days, more than 8,000 Karen along the Salween river will have to flee to Thailand. We hope that the Thai army will help them escape the war,” the group said in a post on Facebook.
Karen fighters on Tuesday overran a Myanmar army unit on the west bank of the Salween in a pre-dawn attack. The Karen said 13 soldiers and three of their fighters were killed. The Myanmar military responded with air raids in several areas near the Thai border.
Southeast Asian leaders set for Myanmar crisis talks
Southeast Asian leaders will hold Myanmar crisis talks Saturday with junta leader Min Aung Hlaing who has become the focus of international outrage over a military coup and crackdown that has left more than 700 dead. An Indonesian government video showed Min Aung Hlaing, dressed in a dark suit, stepping off a Myanmar Airways International plane after it landed in the capital Saturday. © Thet AUNG Min Aung Hlaing's expected involvement in the ASEAN summit has angered activists and human rights groups He will join Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Sultan of Brunei, the current chair of ASEAN, as well as leaders and foreign ministers from mos
Restricted border access
Thailand’s foreign ministry spokesman said 2,267 civilians had crossed into Thailand as of early Friday since the latest round of conflict began. Thailand has reinforced its forces and restricted access to the border.
The inhabitants of two Thai villages close to the border have also been displaced, ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat told a briefing, with 220 people seeking refuge deeper in Thai territory for safety.
“The situation has escalated so we can’t go back,” said Warong Tisakul, 33, a Thai villager from Mae Sam Laep, a settlement, now abandoned, opposite the Myanmar army post attacked this week.
“Security officials won’t let us, we can’t go back.”
Heavy clashes have also been taking place in the north of Myanmar between government forces and ethnic Kachin fighters.
Media reported heavy casualties among government troops in recent days but a spokesman for the Kachin Independence Army armed group said he could not confirm any figures.
The women of Myanmar: ‘Our place is in the revolution’
Some 60 percent of protesters against the military coup are women who fear their hard-won rights hang in the balance.Protests have erupted around the country since the military seized control of the government after arresting democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on February 1, and declared a year-long state of emergency.
“There will be casualties on both sides as there’s fighting,” the spokesman, Naw Bu, said by telephone.
The Karen, Kachin and several other armed groups have come out in support of the pro-democracy protesters who have been taking to the streets in towns and cities across the country to oppose the return of military rule.
The security forces have killed at least 759 protesters since the coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group says. Reuters is unable to confirm the casualty toll.
The military has acknowledged the death of some protesters, killed after they initiated violence, it says. Several members of the security forces have been killed in the protests, the military says.
Meanwhile, several social media posts reported that several more young people were taken by security forces on Friday without arrest warrants.
Pro-democracy protests have also continued across the country on Friday, including in the country’s largest city of Yangon and in Mandalay.
Myanmar chief to make first trip abroad since coup .
The Jakarta regional summit will be Min Aung Hlaing's first trip since the army took power in a coup. © Reuters Min Aung Hlaing has medals galore, but little public support General Min Aung Hlaing is scheduled to attend an Asean regional summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday. The military seized power on 1 February, claiming there had been voter fraud in the 2020 general election.Since then, more than 700 people have been killed as many protested against the military government.