|Rebel commander: Thai
curbs on friends weaken curbs on drugs
A casualty of increased pressure on armed resistance groups along
the border by the Thai government happens to be the rupture in the
monitoring of drugs across the border, according to a Karen commander.
"Even my movements are being restricted," said Lt-Col
Nerdah Mya, Commander of the 201st Battalion, Karen National Liberation
Army, the armed wing of Karen National Union. "In the past,
we were able to keep all the drug activities along the border under
surveillance and keep the Thai authorities informed. Now that the
relations have been downgraded, we are getting less and less access
to our sources of information."
The Thai media reported in 2001 a number of Thai army seizures
of drugs opposite Tak province. In April 2001 alone, the total haul
was 13.7 million speed pills and 4.5 kg of heroin. Thai security
officials privately credited Karen rebels for their timely and accurate
Likewise, the Shan State Army's counter-narcotics operations had
been impaired by rising Thai restriction, according to Shan rebel
sources. "In the past, the SSA had been able to expose Burmese
commanders' involvement in drugs," commented one officer, who
requested anonymity. "Maybe their so-called friends in Bangkok
were not too happy about the disclosures."
"I would like Thai leaders to rethink carefully," added
Nerdah, who also happened to be the son of Karen rebels' celebrated
commander, Bo Mya, "before they decided to ditch us. Are they
confident of finding in the junta truer friends than us?"
The Thai police seized 500,000 methamphetamine pills coming from
Mongyawn, opposite Chiangmai's Mae Ai. Mongyawn is the joint stronghold
of Burmese and Wa forces.