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Fighting Erupts In Burma

/* Written  2:36 PM  Jul 25, 1994 by wov.central@xxxxxxx in igc:soc.cult.burma */
/* ---------- "Fighting Erupts In Burma" ---------- */
Subject : Fighting Erupts In Burma

   BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Fighting has erupted between Burmese
troops and ethnic minority rebels, while several thousand Burmese
refugees cower on monsoon-swept hillsides just inside Thailand,
refugee sources said Monday.
   Clashes began after Burmese units last week stormed a refugee
camp astride the Thai-Burmese border, the sources said on condition
of anonymity.
stepping up attacks against Burmese troops, source said. Fighting
was expected to escalate.
attack, were seeking temporary asylum just inside Thailand's
western province of Kanchanaburi. They were living in crude
shelters on hillsides turned to mud by daily downpours, the sources
   The relief group Doctors Without Borders has been digging
temporary wells and other agencies are bringing in food and plastic
sheets for shelter.
   About 100 Thai border police have rushed into the area.
   The attack puzzled observers at this weekend's meeting in
Bangkok of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Burma,
invited to attend for the first time, was trying to improve its
tarnished international image.
   The country has been widely condemned for crushing pro-democracy
opponents and brutalizing ethnic minority groups, which have long
sought autonomy from the central government.
   The United States and Australia criticized ASEAN -- which
includes Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the
Philippines -- for inviting Burma.
fighting the Burmese government for the autonomy promised them
after Burma achieved independence from Great Britain in 1948.
   The minorities live in Burma's extensive, rugged frontier and
make up about 30 percent of the country's 38 million people. Their
lifestyles and traditions differ from the dominant Burmese.
   The attack, which has not been confirmed by Burma, may have been
an attempt to pressure rebels to the negotiating table with Burmese
   Others speculated it might have been ordered by local military
leaders, who have considerable autonomy from the central

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