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NEWS - Thai Troops ordered to retal

Subject: NEWS - Thai Troops ordered to retaliate against future intrusions

by the SPDC militia
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The Nation - May 11, 1999

Local & Politics

Troops ordered to retaliate against future intrusions

FOREIGN Minister Surin Pitsuwan said yesterday that Thailand will
against any future intrusion by armed units along the Thai-Burmese
following a series of attacks along the border allegedly carried out by
armed Burmese groups.

Surin said Thai troops have been given orders to retaliate immediately
if it
has been deemed that these groups have violated Thai sovereignty.

The cross-border attacks were made against Thai villagers and a police

The latest incident occurred when Burmese government troops fired two
rounds that landed near Nam Phieng Din police station in Mae Hong Son
province during a military offensive against rebel soldiers.

Surin said Burma has expressed regret over the mortar firing.

Local Burmese commander Lt Col Tun Oo was reported as saying that the
was an accident.

Just a week before the mortar incident, an armed Burmese group,
allied with the Burmese government, had crossed over and fired hundreds
rounds at the same police station. Three Thais were taken hostage in the
raid, but were later released.

Amid growing tension along the border, various government agencies have
suggested that some border crossing points should be shut down.

Surin said there should be deep consideration on the issue before
any crossing point as the move may have a drastic affect on the local
community and cross-border trade.

Army chief Surayud Julanont told reporters last week that the Army has
increased security measures along the border and would train civilian
volunteers to protect their homes and villages.

However, he cautioned against cross-border retaliation by Thai troops
because the act would violate Burma's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the 9th Infantry Division of the First Army Region has pushed
more than 100 ethnic Karen back into Burma. The Karen had taken refuge
Ratchaburi province's Ban Pong Hang village, about six kilometres from
border, since Friday.

They had fled fighting between Burmese troops and rebel soldiers.

According to a local government official, the Burmese Karen have
returned to
Mea Pay Lek village.

Intelligence reports say Burmese government troops are preparing to
an attack against Mae Pay Lek, about three kilometres from the Thai