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Message-ID: <s506bc02.053@tlc.state.tx.us>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 16:29:40 -0600
Reply-To: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
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

Associated Press
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 said.

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.
- AP

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