3,000 Myanmar evacuees ‘voluntarily’ repatriated after camps closed: Thai Army
The Royal Thai Army (RTA) said 3,103 Myanmar evacuees on the border of Tak province returned to their home country on Tuesday.
Most evacuees had returned by taking boats across the Moei River, the Army said.
It is unclear whether any of the evacuees were forcibly repatriated.
The RTA’s Naresuan Force, which is deployed on the Tak border, insists that all the evacuees returned voluntarily to their home country.
The return comes after some 10,000 people fled to the border to escape fierce fighting around Shwe Kokko, a notorious casino town in Myawaddy State controlled by the Myanmar junta-allied Border Guard Force.
Myanmar resistance forces led by the Karen National Liberation Army launched an assault on junta troops in the area last week.
Residents of Myawaddy fled to the border district of Mae Sot in Tak province.
The Thai Army has closed two shelters in Mae Sot, namely Tha Sai Rujira and Tha Che Kai.
However, some 133 Myanmar evacuees are still at Tha Lung Wase shelter in the Thai border district of Mae Ramat, 50 kilometres north of Mae Sot.
"Naresuan Force and Thailand-Myanmar Border Command Centre will continue ensuring security and safety among people in the area, along with offering humanitarian aid to evacuees," the Thai Army said.
The Naresuan Force said its soldiers are offering humanitarian aid to Myanmar evacuees, including shelters, first aid and food.
Karen resistance forces said they attacked Shwe Kokko because it was a crime hub funding the country’s junta, which is waging a brutal crackdown on the widespread uprising against military rule. The junta is accused of ongoing mass killing of civilians in an indiscriminate offensive against resistance to military rule following the 2021 military coup. The country has plunged into civil war after Army chief Min Aung Hlaing toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in the putsch, claiming widespread fraud in the 2020 election following the poor performance by military-backed parties. International and domestic observer