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Burmese camps to be cordoned off

Date: 15 May 1997 
The Nation 

Burmese camps to be cordoned off 

TAK authorities will set up a security cordon around camps for Burmese in the 
province, to prevent further intrusion into the areas by unidentified armed 
groups, Tak Governor Pongpoyom Wasaputi said yesterday. 

Pongpoyom said there were four camps for the displaced Burmese who had fled 
the fighting in their homeland between ethnic guerrillas and SLORC troops ­ at 
Tha Song Yang, Mae Sot, Phop Phra and Umphang. 

''From now on the Army will take care of areas outside the camps and defence 
volunteers will be in charge of the camp compounds. 

''If the camp is invaded, the soldiers will be responsible for shooting at the 
invaders," Pongpoyom said. 

He was speaking after chairing a security meeting to discuss the Thai-Burmese 
border, attended by local district chiefs and police and army officers 
stationed along the frontier. 

''A curfew will be imposed from 6 pm to 6 am. Any entry or departure during 
that period will clearly show suspicious intent. Those who break the curfew 
will face tough measures. 

''A security centre will be set up in each camp to ensure the safety of the 
Burmese. We will also provide more sanitation services," the governor said. 

Unidentified armed groups have repeatedly invaded and burned the camps for 
displaced Burmese. The Army has been unable to prevent them. 

Pongpoyom said the planned repatriation of 114 Burmese belonging to 25 
families in Umphang camp, who had volunteered to return home on May 20, had 
been postponed because the Burmese were not ready to receive them. 

''The Burmese have also made it clear that the Burmese who return must be 
Burmese," he said. 

A senior military source said the SLORC was not sincere in saying it wanted 
its people back. It did not keep its promises. 

Therefore, Thailand will henceforth send back only those who want to go home, 
without waiting for permission from Burma. 

He said the Thai side had to cross over into Burmese soil to hand over Burmese 
soldiers, because the Burmese did not come to pick up their men.