– VOA News
Thousands of Burmese have fled into neighboring Thailand to escape fighting between Burmese troops and ethnic Karen militiamen that wounded people on both sides of the border.
The fighting erupted Sunday when a splinter faction of the Karen rebel group seized a police station and post office in the Burmese border town of Myawaddy. The faction broke away from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a group that has allied itself with Burma’s military rulers.
The rebels raided Myawaddy on the same day that the Burmese military held a rare national election, which critics condemned as a sham to keep the ruling generals in power.
Battles between Burmese troops and the Karen militiamen continued Monday in Myawaddy, where witnesses said several people had been killed and wounded. Thai authorities said gunshots and several rockets landed across the border in the Thai town of Mae Sot, wounding five people.
Burmese troops and rebels also fought each other Monday farther south near the Three Pagodas Pass. At least 15,000 Burmese have fled into Thailand, most of them crossing into Mae Sot. Authorities there housed the refugees in makeshift shelters and offered them food and water.