Myanmar clashes put Thai military rangers on alert

Thai military rangers have been deployed along the border in Tak province after a series of clashes between Myanmar forces and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Association (DKBA).

At least two Myanmar soldiers were killed and one was injured in skirmishes that erupted on Thursday and dragged on until yesterday, said an informed source.

Three members of the Karen National Union splinter group were also wounded, while the unrest caused the partial closure of a newly constructed road linking Pang Kan village with Myanmar’s Kawkareik province, said the same source.

Motorists travelling between the two destinations were forced to switch to an old route.

The clashes reportedly took place 28 kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar border opposite Mae Sot district.

The source said before the fighting the Myanmar military deployed about 300 soldiers equipped with heavy weapons to launch an attack against the DKBA.

DKBA forces were reportedly told to remain stationed at their valley command base over fears the military would attempt to launch a raid and seize the strategic stronghold.

On Friday, Brig Gen Kyaw Thet, who heads the splinter group’s Klo Htoo Wah tactical force, instructed his border troops to prepare for possible attacks from the Myanmar military.

The cause of the clashes remains unclear, but a source at Mae Sot district police station said the military probably wants to move the DKBA away from the newly built road linking Thailand to Myawaddy and Mawlamyine.

The road is set to be inaugurated in an official ceremony by the end of this month and will serve as a new link between the two countries.

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