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Over 300 Karen refugees flee clash, cross to Thailand.

BANGKOK, July 18 Kyodo

At least 300 Karen refugees have fled to Thailand after Myanmar government troops and an allied armed group attacked a Karen National Union (KNU) guerrilla stronghold, Thai military officials said Wednesday.

The Myanmar army and the allied Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) on Tuesday attacked the KNU stronghold in a border area near the Thai village of Nong Bua in Tha Song Yang district of Tak province, more than 500 kilometers north of Bangkok.

The rifle and mortar attack left a church, a hospital and some 20 houses in flames and cost both sides some 20 casualties, according to the Thai military officials.

Of the more than 300 Karen refugees, 194 persons came under the protection of Thai authorities and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, while the rest hid themselves in the jungle, said Tha Song Yang district chief Vilas Phusin.

The KNU has been fighting for independence since 1949. The DKBA, a breakaway faction of the Christian-dominated KNU, has sided with the Yangon military junta since 1994.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jul 23, 2001
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