Myanmar Junta Launches Heavy Air Strikes On The Border With Thailand

(MENAFN- IANS) Bangkok, April 22 (IANS/DPA) The military junta in crisis-hit Myanmar has responded to the takeover of the important trading town of Myawaddy by rebel groups with heavy airstrikes.

Since Friday, the army has dropped at least 130 bombs over the town on the border with Thailand, members of the armed wing of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and local media reported on Monday. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 10 civilians were killed.

However, as airstrikes also hit remote villages near Myawaddy, the exact number of casualties is still unclear, said a 25-year-old woman who is helping refugees on the Thai side. According to Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara, around 3,000 more people have fled to the border town of Mae Sot in Thailand since the weekend.

"It was like it was raining bombs from the sky. We were so scared," one of the refugees, 23-year-old Saw Htoo, told dpa.

Myawaddy in Myanmar and Mae Sot in Thailand are only separated by the Moei River. A revolutionary alliance led by the KNLA occupied the last military garrison in the city on April 11. Since then, some of the remaining soldiers have been holding out at a bridge to Thailand. According to reports, they are refusing to surrender to the rebels.

The Thai army has been deployed at Moei for days with numerous armoured vehicles. Soldiers patrol the border to provide security.

According to reports, it is difficult for Myanmar's military junta to reinforce the troops in Myawaddy as there is only one major access road and this is monitored by rebels. According to the rebel alliance, the generals are therefore currently responding mainly with airstrikes.

For Myanmar's junta, the loss of Myawaddy was a further serious blow, having already lost a town on the border with China to rebels from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). Myawaddy is considered one of the most important trading posts between the former Burma and Thailand. Myanmar has been mired in chaos and violence since the coup in February 2021.

The military junta, which ousted and detained head of government Aung San Suu Kyi, has recently come under increasing pressure in the multi-ethnic state.



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