11/10/2010, 00.00
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20 thousand Burmese who fled to Thailand back in Myanmar

by Weena Kowitwanij
The situation on the border between the two countries still chaotic. According to Bangkok all the twenty thousand who fled the clashes have returned , but local sources say that there are still many refugees in the area. The testimony of a doctor.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Thai authorities say that all the twenty thousand refugees who poured across its border with Burma during the fighting in recent days have returned home. "The situation has been calm, with no new clashes. There are more people from Myanmar in Thailand, after the last seven hundred returned home this morning, "said Samard Loyfar, governor of the province of Tak.

About 20 thousand people fled to Thailand on 8 November after armed clashes between the Burmese army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, in some areas close to the border near Myawaddy. The zone is home to more than 30 ethnic-based armed groups who refuse the oppression of the military junta, which denied some areas of the right to vote in the Nov. 7 election farce. Sporadic gun shots were heard further south in the province of Kanchanaburi, said some leaders of the security forces in Thailand. About 3500 refugees have returned to Myanmar from this area.

Dr. Cynthia Maung, an ethnic Karen has on the border worked in the area of Mae Sot since 1989,. She left Myanmar in that year, and since then directs the Mae Tao clinic for refugees, migrants and orphans with 100 other colleaguse, including physicians, paramedical staff and teachers. The clinic welcomes people of every ethnicity and religion. So far the clinic has treated 150 thousand patients on this border area.

According to Cynthia Maung, currently in the area of Mae Sot there are various non-governmental organizations dealing with migrants, whose number ranges from two thousand to 40 thousand depending on the moment. The Burmese would like to return home, but there is confusion and anxiety with regard to safety. Many wonder what their life back home will be like”. Regarding the recent elections, and their effect on the approximately 800 thousand Burmese workers in Thailand, Dr Maung said, "Currently, various groups feel that the recent elections are unjust, and that makes people hopeless. They do not know what will happen, and so they think it is necessary to find a temporary refuge. The fighting continues all along the border, and people do not know what to do. Probably the situation will get worse before they can start to talk about a real cease-fire. "

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