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Burma's Ethnic Karen Confirm News of Assault


The Karen National Union has confirmed reports that Burmese troops have driven some 11,000 ethnic Karen out of their homes in a border area near Thailand.

In a statement the KNU said Burmese troops are shelling and burning Karen villages and farms. It said the troops are also planting land mines, subjecting people to forced labor, and committing rape, torture, and murder.

The statement calls on the Burmese military government to stop the assault and hold talks with the KNU, in order to resolve the country's problems politically.

The European Union said Wednesday it is very concerned about the reports that the Burmese army has stepped up its attacks on the ethnic Karen minority.

A statement from the E.U. presidency called on both sides to adhere to international humanitarian law and pursue talks leading to a genuine and lasting ceasefire.

Thai officials first reported last month that at least 18,00 Karen refugees had taken shelter from the Burmese offensive by escaping across the Thai border. Since then, a number of world bodies have called for the Burmese army to stop its assault.

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