As many as 2,000 villagers from 12 villages in Mae Tha Wor areas have fled their villages in fear of being caught in the crossfire between the Burma army, Government backed militia the Border Guard Force (BGF) and the ethnic Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) troops.
Armed skirmishes between BGF and DKBA forces have intensified in recent days in a series of tit-for-tat engagements.
Eyewitnesses and local villagers told Karen News that more than one hundred pick-up trucks fully loaded with Government soldiers were seen heading up to Mae Tha Wor areas and taking positions in Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State.
According to sources close to the BGF, Karen News understands that troops from Burma Army Division #22 and #44 have now also joined the armed clashes with a purpose to wipe out the DKBA in the areas of current conflict. If this is true, then it would mean a serious escalation in the conflict.
The 2,000 villagers evacuated on September 9 with the help of well-known and influential Myaing Gyi Ngu’s Abbot U Thuzana, who has given over his monastery for the displaced.
The following day, September 10, villagers from Mae Tha Wor areas who live close to the Thai border, crossed the Moei River in to Thailand, Tha Song Yang district of Tak province seeking temporary safety from the conflict.
Tension between the BGF and DKBA troops in Mae Tha Wor areas mounted after DKBA troops in the area announced an offensive against the BGF on September 1.
The DKBA have since carried out several small attacks on BGF bases.