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NEWS - Karen Refugees Say Trapped i

Subject: NEWS - Karen Refugees Say Trapped in Myanmar Jungle Camp

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NOTE: Why is Thailand assisting the SPDC/ SLORC in committing Genocide
of the Karen people??

Karen Refugees Say Trapped in Myanmar Jungle Camp


            MAELA PUTHA, Myanmar, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ethnic Karen
            civilians who fled military repression in Myanmar say they
            have been living in fear and hunger at this jungle camp
            Yangon persuaded Thailand to block their food and medical

            Camp leaders say 4,387 civilians of eastern Myanmar's
            largest ethnic minority, mostly women and children from 636
            families, fled their home villages late last year to this
            makeshift riverside camp opposite Thailand. 

            They shelter under whatever protection they can find --
            bushes, plastic sheets and simple bamboo huts. 

            "The food and medical supplies from NGOs stopped 10 days
            ago and we are too scared to go back and retrieve rice from
            our villages," camp leader Saw Di Di told Reuters. 

            "Myanmar fears the supplies will go into the hands of KNU
            guerrillas and they persuaded Thailand to stop supplies to
            us," he said, referring to the Karen National Union, one of
            the last ethnic groups continuing to wage guerrilla war
            against Yangon's military government. 

            Until last month, the refugees received food and medicine
            from the Karen Refugee Committee (KRC), the Burma
            Border Consortium and other non-governmental
            organisations based in Thailand northern Tak province. 

            But the last supply, which was due on January 21, did not
            arrive after Myanmar sent a letter of protest to Thai army. 

            The refugees at Maela Putha first fled the Myanmar army
            early last year to live just inside Thailand. They returned
            their villages in September only to flee again two months

            Stopped from entering Thailand, they made camp on the
            Myanmar side of the Moei River, which borders the two

            A senior Thai army officer told Reuters the Karens had
            returned voluntarily to the Myanmar side. 

            "We told them that if they wanted to live in Thailand they
            would have to enter a camp and that we could not allow
            them to live in disorder in the jungle any more," said
            Chayudhi Boonpan, commander of the local military

            The Karens said they did not want to enter a Thai camp
            because they arrived at the border with all their livestock
            still needed to be able to return to their home villages to
            rice and other crops if their district became safe again. 

            They said Myanmar troops were currently stationed only
            about two hours walk from their camp and they dared not go
            deeper into the country to harvest their crops. 

            "We are too scared to go to get our rice from the villages,"
            Di said. "If supplies don't come from the NGOs, people will
            starve to death." 

            The KRC said it was negotiating with the Thai army on the
            border for a resumption of food supplies to the refugee

            "The Thai army has rules and regulations to abide by, but I
            hope that for the sake of humanitarianism, the food supplies
            will resume soon," said KRC chairwoman Mary On. 

            More than 100,000 Karen refugees live in camps in Thailand
            after fleeing a decades-long war in their homeland between
            the Myanmar army and the KNU, which is seeking greater

            On Monday, Chayudhi said the Thai military was poised to
            deport more than 800 other Karens who had entered Thai

            He said the 800 were "economic migrants" who sneaked into
            Huaykalok refugee camp, in northern Tak province, last
            month and had not come to escape fighting.