Burmese troops have mounted their assault for ten years against village strongholds occupied by Karen rebels on their eastern border.
THAILAND / BURMA Border:
General view of Thailand-Burma border country
Smoke from Burmese artillery shells rising above treetops (2 shots)
Refugee camp; woman washing pots (2 shots)
Karen rebels walking through village with guns
Refugees washing and cooking in camp (6 shots)
Thai border patrol on foot
Refugees entering Thailand (4 shots)
Background: Burmese troops have mounted their assault for ten years against village strongholds occupied by Karen rebels on their eastern border. The rebels have been fighting for an autonomous state for 35 years. After four days of clashes, about 6,000 burmese civilians have fled into Thailand in an attempt to escape the violence. Burmese artillery and mortars launched an assault on Mao Tha Wa, the second largest Karen economic and military centre, about 100 kilometres from Mae Sot, the main town of the area. The Burmese troops used incendiary shells which destroyed many buildings in clear view of observers on the Thai side of the border. The Burmese wage a campaign against the Karen rebels each year. The pressure has been stepped up during the last 12 months, maintaining during the rainy season operations that are normally confined to the dry season. A major assault in the present dry season was predicted after the rebels embarrassed the government of Ne Win by seizing a French engineer and his wife from a state-run cement plant in October and demanding a cessation of French aid to the regime as a condition of their release.