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Refugees flee to Thailand after att

Subject: Refugees flee to Thailand after attack on   Burmese student camp

Refugees flee to Thailand after attack on   Burmese student camp

           BANGKOK, April 19 (AFP) - Burmese government forces have attacked a
           dissident student base close to the Thai border triggering a new
exodus of
           refugees into southern Thailand, sources said Saturday.

           Some 1,000 troops of Burma's State Law and Order Restoration Council
           (SLORC) are conducting an offensive against the student's "8888
Camp" and
           nearby ethnic settlements, opposite Thailand's Prachuab Khiri
Khan province,
           according to the All Burma Student's Democratic Front (ABSDF).

           Colonel Somdej Seumak of Thailand's Ninth Infantry Division
confirmed there
           had been fighting across the border on Friday and that 138
refugees had
           crossed into Thap Sakae district of Prachuab Khiri Khan that

           An ABSDF spokesman reported that a further 500 ethnic Mon
refugees had
           fled to the border, but were yet to cross into Thailand. More
refugees were
           expected from settlements of Karen, Mon and Moslem communities
close to
           the student camp.

           An estimated 20,000 refugees have already escaped to Thailand since
           February during a massive sweep by Burmese junta troops along Burma's
           western border, to flush out resistance from rebel Karens.

           Small groups of dissidents including the ABSDF have supported the
           resistance to the SLORC.

           The ABSDF spokesman said 8888 Camp, which is located about two
           kilometres (one mile) inside Burma, had been under attack for
over a week and
           was shelled on Friday. There had been no further fighting on

           The camp is named after the the pro-democracy demonstrations of
August 8,
           1988, that led to a bloody clampdown by the junta and forced
thousands into
           exile, including students who later formed the ABSDF.

           "They (the SLORC) are determined to wipe out any resistance in
this area.
           Strategically and economically, it's very important to them," the

           An ABSDF statement said that the student camp is based close to
           infrastructure developments including a road and railway that
will link Burma
           and Thailand.

           Since May, some 20,000 people from 79 villages had been forcibly
           in this area of Burma's Tenasserim Division to pave the way for
the planned
           construction of deep sea ports and a gas pipeline to