Are Karen considered Thai

Karen ethnic group raids base : Heavy fighting in Myanmar on the border with Thailand

Serious clashes broke out early Tuesday in Myanmar at an army outpost near the eastern border with Thailand. Armed forces of the ethnic minority of the Karen people group took the base between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time, the head of the Karen National Union (KNU) for foreign affairs, Padoh Saw Taw Nee, told Reuters news agency. The camp had been burned down. The number of fatalities and injuries is still unclear.

Villagers said they saw seven soldiers fleeing towards the jungle. According to the KNU spokesman, there were also disputes in other places, he did not provide any further details.

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A Thai official also confirmed the fighting in the border region. "There has been fierce fighting at the Myanmar Army outpost across from the city of Mae Sam Laep," said the Mae Hong Son province official. There have been no reports of fatalities on the Thai side. Eyewitnesses reported fighting on the other side of the Salween river. Videos on social media showed rising flames and smoke.

The KNU said that at least 24,000 people have been displaced by the violence of the past few weeks, including the Myanmar army air strikes, and are seeking refuge in the jungle.

[T + subscribers can read an interview with an activist from Myanmar here: Activist from Myanmar calls for international help - "Otherwise there could be a terrible civil war"]

The military had put in a coup on February 1 and deposed the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi. Some of Myanmar's two dozen armed groups - including the KNU - support opponents of the junta, which has killed more than 750 civilians in an attempt to quell protests against the coup. Thousands of people from Myanmar have fled to Thailand and India because of the fighting and the coup. The ethnic groups have been fighting for greater autonomy for decades.(Reuters)

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