Tourists banned from border as fighting looms between Burmese and Mon rebels

Tourists are banned from visiting Myanmar through a border crossing in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district as Burmese troop reinforcements have recently been dispatched to confront Mon rebels.

Thai troops based near the border crossing have been put on alert in preparation for possible fighting between Burmese troops and Mon rebels and also possible influx of Mon civilians to escape the firefight.

About 200 Mons, mostly women, children and the elderly are taking refuge at Wat Songkaria Trainimit on the Thai border in Sangkhla Buri district after they fled across the border on Wednesday night ahead of the incursion into Mon-held area by Burmese forces.

Colonel Banchong Thongnuam, commander of Latya task force, however said that the situation remains normal.

He said that a temporary shelter to accommodate Thai evacuaees has been set aside at Ban Songkaria school whereas a shelter for Burmese ethnic people has been prepared at the Three Pagodas village.

An informed source said that tension flared between Burmese troops and the Mon rebels after the rebels turned down an order from the Burmese military for the rebels not to carry arms.