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Thousands flee western Myanmar clashes

Thousands of people have fled into the jungle after heavy fighting in western Myanmar, according to witnesses.

Almost 8000 residents of Mindat sought safety outside the town but now face starvation in the forests, local residents told the DPA news agency on Tuesday.

“Only some old people and children have stayed in the town. Many have fled into the jungle and food will soon run out,” a citizen from Mindat said by phone.

The people were forced to flee after several days of fighting between junta soldiers and armed rebels.

The military reportedly used heavy artillery.

At least seven civilians were killed and several others were injured.

By Saturday, the army, which flew in reinforcements by helicopter, had taken control of the city.

The fighting in the city had ended but residents are afraid that they will be targeted by the soldiers now in charge of the city.

“It’s almost impossible for us to go back into the city because there are soldiers everywhere,” a man from Mindat said.

There had already been heavy fighting between the army and junta opponents in Chin State at the end of April.

The military ousted the democratic government in Myanmar on February 1.

Since then, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos and violence amid widespread protests against the generals’ takeover.

According to estimates by the prisoners’ aid organisation AAPP, more than 800 people have already been killed since the coup and more than 5200 have been arrested.

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