Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 16:29:40 -0600
Reply-To: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
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From: JOHN QUINONES <John.Quinones@TLC.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: TH:Raiders burn Karen refugee camp, leaving 9,000 homeless
To: Multiple recipients of list SEASIA-L <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Raiders burn Karen refugee camp, leaving 9,000 homeless
11 March 1998
BANGKOK: Marauders from Myanmar burnt a Karen refugee camp six kilometres inside
Thailand early on Wednesday, killing two
people and wounding 25.
Nearly 9,000 refugees were left without shelter.
The attack, which began with a mortar assault shortly after midnight, razed the
1,613-home Huay Ko Lo refugee camp, aid workers
and refugees said.
All that was left standing was a Buddhist monastery.
Thai military spokesmen were not available for comment on the attack on Huay Ko
Lo, which sheltered 8,969 refugees.
Two women, one of them pregnant, were killed in the attack. They were shot, and
being unable to flee, died in the fires, witnesses
Refugees said the marauders were members of the Democratic Karen Myanar Army _ a
splinter group of Karen allied with the
Myanmar government, and Myanmar army troops.
"The whole camp was blazing and we jumped into a trench," said a 68-year-old
Karen refugee woman who identified herself only as
Jewel. "We heard the soldiers saying `We told you to go back to Myanmar'."
One medical worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said several separate
groups of refugees said Thais had guided the
marauders into the camp.
More than 100,000 mostly Karen refugees from Myanmar are living in camps inside
Thailand having fled offensives and human rights
abuses by the Myanmar military.
The Karen have been fighting for autonomy for 50 years.
"If they are really serious about peace talks, then they should stop killing
and murdering and burning the homes of our civilians,
especially refugees," said Ner Dah, a commander with the Karen National Union,
a guerilla force.
A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the attack would probably be
raised with the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok.