June 8, 2009 (DVB), Following a series of offensives over the weekend by government troops against the Karen National Union, over 3000 Karen villagers, many of whom are women and children, have now fled into Thailand.
Government troops backed by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have been launching joint offensives against the KNU's armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), since early last week.
Fresh clashes have been breaking out near villages in Hlaingbwe and Paingkyone townships, in Karen state's Pa-an district.
On Friday, the Karen Human Rights Group reported that DKBA soldiers had been forcefully recruiting villagers to walk in front of troop patrols, acting as minesweepers.
"I met over 1,000 [refugees] at a monastery inside Thailand," said Nang Phaw Kay of the Karen Information Committee (KIC).
"Most of them are mothers, children, and pregnant women. Only a few of them are men."
Thai villages are taking care of the health of the refugees and food is being provided by the Thai Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), said Nang Phaw Kay, who added that there is shortage of shelter and lodging for the refugees.
Government troops and the DKBA have been sporadically firing heavy weapons at Ler Per Har refugee camp, with around 30 rounds fired yesterday.
The Free Burma Rangers medical organization, who have brought food and medical supplies to the refugees in Thailand, report that around 3,295 have fled the camp alone.
Reporting by DVB