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Injured sent to Thai border hospital following Myanmar clash

A Thai border hospital received nearly 40 injured people for treatment after a battle in neighboring Myanmar, according to Thai officials on Monday.

At least 38 were admitted in total, Thai public health minister Cholnan Srikaew said during a press conference at Mae Sot General Hospital on Monday. 

Mae Sot is a Thai city that shares a border with Myanmar to the west. It is notable as a trade hub and for its substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees.

“We treat them according to their conditions, mostly involving surgery,” he said. “There were 22 people admitted on Saturday. Another 16 gradually came on Sunday.”

Cholnan declined to disclose how many junta troops and rebel soldiers were included among the injured.

“We do not discriminate which group they are,” he said, adding that foreign nationals would be referred to relevant security agencies following their treatment.

The armed branch of the Karen National Union, called the Karen National Liberation Army, and its allies captured junta Infantry Battalion 275 in Myawaddy, a Burmese town that shares a border with Thailand’s Mae Sot, on April 10. 

After rebel forces intercepted a junta convoy and injured over 100 soldiers on its way to recapture Myawaddy on Thursday, Mi-35 helicopters bombed the town in retaliation on Saturday around 3 a.m. 

Gunfire between junta troops and rebel forces and airstrikes could be heard late into late Sunday morning, Thai soldiers and Mae Sot residents told Radio Free Asia.  

Since the rebel capture of Battalion 275, about 200 junta troops have been stranded at a customs compound near the border’s Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No. 2, roughly 10 kilometers (six miles) north of Mae Sot.

RFA could not confirm if these troops were among those admitted to Mae Sot’s hospital. 

Following Saturday and Sunday’s battles, about 3,000 people were evacuated and several hundred refugees were taken to Rujira ranch a few kilometers north of Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No. 2, according to Thai officials. 

The evacuees were predominantly Myanmar, said Thai soldiers, in addition to some Thai nationals working in Myanmar. Thai authorities provided refugees with food and medical services.

As of Monday, about 2,000 displaced people have returned since fighting calmed in Myawaddy, the Bangkok Post reported on Monday, adding that Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No. 1, which is used for immigration, remains open. 

The newspaper cited a Thai military officer as saying that negotiations between the junta and the Karen rebel force and its allies have begun. 

Padoh Saw Taw Nee, a spokesperson at The Karen National Union, told RFA that it is reviewing the military and public welfare situation since fighting has calmed.

Translated by Kiana Duncan. Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn.