Thai soldiers help injured Burmese refugees fleeing airstrikes in Myanmar


Footage shows Thai soldiers helping injured Burmese refugees to safety after they fled the violence in their home country.

Thousands of ethnic Karen people converged on the border between Myanmar and Thailand this week after military chiefs launched airstrikes on guerilla groups on the region. 

Video taken in Mae Hong Son province shows Thai troops assisting wounded refugees and carrying them to safety for treatment in their country.

The issue has flared up after officials in Thailand had claimed that refugees would be allowed to remain in the country. However, rights groups showed that many were being turned away and ushered onto boats.

Child welfare charity Friends Without Borders Foundation said on Tuesday morning (March 30) that some of the refugees spent the night sleeping on the river banks, a natural border with Thailand before being sent away.

They said: ‘These refugees were ordered to go back by the morning.’

Sithichai Chindaluang, the governor of Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province, claimed that the refugees would be held in a ‘safe place’.

However, Thai military commander Colonel Chaidan Grisanasuwarn said that villagers would be pushed back across the Salween River to Myanmar. 

‘We asked them to return because we don’t see any risk,’ he told local media.

The chaotic scene came as the death toll from the protests reached 500 people across the country and the government used airstrikes on villages.

On Saturday, at least 114 civilians were killed in 44 towns and cities across the country, including a five-year-old child gunned down in the street. It happened when the military celebrated its annual Armed Forces Day.

A 13-year-old girl was among those killed when the junta’s armed forces opened fire in residential areas of Meikhtila, in Mandalay. At least 20 minors have reportedly been killed since the start of the unrest.

International pressure on Myanmar, still also known as Burma, has escalated with the U.S. government putting sanctions on the country to strengthen its response to the military coup. 

Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began. 

It changed its name to Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi later took over as leader before being widely praised for introducing democratic reforms against ongoing opposition from the military.