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BKK POST: January 24, 1998: MAE HON

January 24, 1998

              Karen threat
              prompts security

              Cheewin Sattha 
              Mae Hong Son

              Security has been beefed up on the border with Burma
              following a threat from renegade Karens to loot a Thai village
              and start artillery shelling.

              The Third Army's Salween Special Task Force transferred
              hundreds of people living in Ban Mae Sam Lab, Sob Moei
              district, to a safer place on Thursday after more than four artillery
              shells allegedly fired by Burmese troops exploded two
              kilometres from the hamlet.

              However, the villagers were allowed to go home yesterday after
              security forces found no serious incidents there.

              On Thursday, a number of armed Democratic Karen Buddhist
              Army troops were seen scattering in border areas opposite Mae
              Hong Song and some local people received letters from the
              DKBA guerrillas who threatened to rob the Ban Mae Sam Lab
              village and torch a market.

              Deputy Mae Hong Son Governor Niphon Khampha said all
              villagers from Ban Mae Sam Lab were safe and they went home
              after staying overnight on Thursday near the Mae Sam Lab

              According to him, the Salween Special Task Force is ready to
              deal with chaos along the border and more military forces,
              rangers and Border Patrol Police have been dispatched to Ban
              Mae Sam Lab to ensure safety for the villagers.

              Provincial authorities had ordered all border districts to help
              transfer local people from risky to safer areas and assist them in
              case of serious situations, Mr Niphon added.

              A border official said the DKBA troops might try to instigate
              chaos in border areas of Sop Moei district in response to the
              Salween Special Task Force's operations to suppress illegal
              logging in the Salween National Park in which they were
              allegedly involved.

              On Wednesday, the task force confiscated more than 300 illegal
              logs in the Salween River at the national park. 


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Last Modified: Sat, Jan 24, 1998