Thailand Scrambles Jets After Myanmar Incursion

Thailand has deployed two F-16 jet fighters in response to a violation of Thai airspace in the western province of Tak following the presence of an aircraft, thought to be a MiG 29 of the Myanmar air force.

Royal Thailand Air Force (RTAF) Spokesman Air Vice Marshal Prapas Sornchaidee, in a report by the Thai Public Broadcasting Service, gave its attaché at the Thai embassy in Myanmar instructions to alert their Myanmar counterpart of the suspected intrusion and to prevent a recurrence.

Around noon on Thursday, the MiG 29 was seen flying over the Ban Valley Tai and Ban Valley Nua in the Phop Phra area as it conducted an airstrike against anti-government rebel positions close to the Thai-Myanmar border.

Many people in the two villages were alerted to the aircraft’s existence, which sparked fear and a rush for cover. 

All children at a school in Ban Valley Nua were told to immediately leave the building and hurry to the bomb bunker.

However, there was no information on cross-border shelling.

Years of unsuccessful attempts have been made by Myanmar government forces to subdue Karen insurgent forces stationed close to Thailand’s western border. 

During the dry season, when government forces start offensives, fighting frequently worsens, forcing periodically hundreds of Karen residents to flee over the Thai border.

In a related development, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that it was not a major concern because the Myanmar military has already apologized and because the two nations have strong relations.

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