Students at school on Thai-Myanmar border undergo air raid drills

The Ban Valley School, in Phop Phra district of Thailand’s Tak province, which is close to the border with Myanmar where fighting is underway between Myanmar government forces and Karen rebels, has been repainted blue and a huge Thai national flag has been raised, which is visible from a great distance.

The new colour scheme and flag follow last Thursday’s brief incursion by a Myanmar MiG-29 into Thai airspace over Phop Phra district, during a bombing run on a Karen rebel camp near the Thai border. The incursion caused panic among residents of two Thai villages and prompted the Ban Valley School’s administrators to order their students to take cover in a bomb shelter on the compound of the school.

A school official said that the visual changes to the school are part of the precautions against a potential spill-over of the fighting in Myanmar, adding that air raid drills have been conducted at the school.

It is reported that the Myanmar military has used helicopters to ferry reinforcements, food and weapons to a camp opposite the Thai village of Ban Valley Nua, after the withdrawal of Karen rebels.

Thai Civilized party leader Mongkolkit Suksintharanon, who is also spokesman for the House Military Affairs Committee, visited Phop Phra district yesterday (Monday) to follow up on the situation.

He said that the committee plans to invite the commanders of the Thai army and air force to give their accounts of the Myanmar war plane’s incursion and the Thai response to the incident.


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