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THE WORLD

Thai Villagers on Myanmar Border Evacuated Amid Clash

June 07, 2002|Associated Press

TERD THAI, Thailand — Thai authorities evacuated about 1,000 villagers Thursday from areas along its northern border with Myanmar, as heavy fighting raged on the other side of the frontier.

The latest skirmishes between Myanmar government troops and ethnic Shan rebels began Monday.

About 15 mortar shells fired in Myanmar landed on Thai soil but caused no casualties or damage.

Rebels belonging to Myanmar's Shan and Karen minorities have been fighting for autonomy since Myanmar, formerly Burma, gained independence from Britain in 1948. Myanmar claimed that Thai troops fired artillery in support of Shan rebels, while Thailand said it fired only warning shots after fighting spilled onto its soil.

About 1,000 Thais were evacuated from Terd Thai, 470 miles north of Bangkok, the capital, as machine-gun fire was heard and smoke rose in the jungle. Five hundred residents of nearby Mae Mor had left Wednesday.

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