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Thailand ready to assist refugees; Military deserters offered amnesty

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thailand ready to assist refugees

Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said on Dec. 3 that his country is ready to assist and build shelters for refugees from Burma if fighting escalates across the border, the Bangkok Post reported

“Under the present situation, [an influx of refugees] is unlikely. But from now on, if violence increases, there might be refugees going in all directions, not only towards Thailand,” he added. Parnpree made a call for all parties in Burma to cease fighting and engage in negotiations. 

Fighting between the military and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) has been taking place in Kawkareik Township of Karen State, near the Thai-Burma border, since Dec. 1. Fighting in Karenni State, which borders northern Thailand, has escalated since Nov. 11. 

Military deserters offered amnesty

The regime announced on Dec. 3 that military deserters will be offered an amnesty if they return to their duties and “renounce all of their sins.” It added that all returning personnel will be sent back to their respective infantries if they return. 

“[It] made the announcement because some deserters requested the military to be able to return. Why could they return if they ran away already in the first place? The military is losing as many [to desertions] as they are to soldiers being killed in battle,” said an unnamed former sergeant who defected. 

The National Unity Government (NUG) claims that more than 43,500 military personnel have been killed and 20,000 have defected or surrendered to resistance forces since it announced its “People’s Defensive War” against the military in September 2021.  

China tells residents in northern Shan State to evacuate

Chinese authorities told residents of Kyalgaung, located in northern Shan State near the Burma-China border, to evacuate to Ruili, China on Dec. 2 due to fighting in the area. “I’ve heard that the bridge between Kyalgaung and Ruili will also be shut down. Barricades have been placed at the border gate,” said a Kyalgaung resident.  

Chinese authorities also told residents of Wanding, China – which is near Pansai, Shan State – to leave their homes due to possible fighting along the border. Pansai was seized by the Brotherhood Alliance in mid-November.  Locals in other Chinese towns along the border received similar notices.  

News by Region

Several buildings were damaged or destroyed in an airstrike carried out on Muse Township Dec. 3. (Credit: TNLA/PSLF)

SHAN—Three civilians, including an infant, were killed by airstrikes in Lashio and Muse townships on Dec. 2, stated the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA/PSLF). At least ten civilians were injured and more than 30 homes were destroyed. 

“The military is conducting airstrikes and artillery shellings over  villages where clashes are not taking place,” the TNLA posted online. It claimed airstrikes were also carried out on Namkham, seized by the TNLA on Nov. 7.  

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) arrested four staff from the Mrauk-U District Administration on Dec. 3. “It arrested one deputy director and three deputy chief officers. One of the deputy officers is a disabled man,” said a Mrauk-U administration member. The military has been arresting people accused of ties to the AA since Nov. 13. 

BAGO—A military base and a police station in Mone, Kyaukkyi Township were seized by resistance forces on Dec. 3. The military has carried out airstrikes and fired artillery at the town since resistance forces attacked it on Dec. 2. Over 1,600 residents have fled their homes and remain trapped in Mone. 

“The town is nearly controlled by the resistance forces. But nobody dares to go outside as resistance forces shut down all the ways to get to the town due to airstrikes and artillery shellings,” said a Mone resident. 

SAGAING—Military helicopters fired on the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Tigyaing town on Dec. 3. “[Fighter jets] dropped eight 500 pound bombs on the town in the past three days as we resumed our attacks to seize the town,” said a PDF spokesperson. It claimed that half of Tigyaing is now under PDF control.  

Read our latest op-ed: Soldiers of Conscience: Myanmar’s military defectors by James Shwe. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube.

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