Thailand has reportedly pushed back more than 2,000 people attempting to flee neighboring Myanmar following a series of airstrikes carried out by the junta in the country’s southeast.
The Karen Information Center said that 2,009 people are now internally displaced and hiding in the jungle, having been forced back into Myanmar shortly after crossing the border with Thailand.
Thousands of people fled their homes in Myanmar’s southeastern Karen state Sunday, after Myanmar’s military jets carried out a bombing raid on villages controlled by an ethnic armed group. The Karen National Union (KNU), which holds large swathes of territory in the borderlands with Thailand, had overrun an army post near the border, killing ten people, Reuters reported.
The reported influx of people fleeing into neighboring Thailand marks a new phase in the deepening crisis for Myanmar, which was thrown into turmoil when the military seized power in a coup on February 1 and ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The airstrikes follow a bloody military crackdown over the weekend that was widely condemned internationally. At least 114 people were reportedly killed by the junta’s security forces on Saturday, on the deadliest day since protests against Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s military regime began two months ago.
Myanmar security forces have killed at least 510 people since the coup, with 14 shot dead on Monday, including children and young people, advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.
The KNU said 3,000 people crossed the Salween River into Thailand, fleeing the military’s aerial bombardments, and 2,000 were pushed back.
The activist group the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), which operates within Karen state and refugee camps in Thailand, confirmed the airstrikes had forced 10,000 people in the state from their homes, and 3,000 had crossed into Thailand.