Without cooperation from the Burma Army, Naypyitaw’s drug eradication and suppression program will not work, according to Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, leader of the Shan State Army (SSA) South.Speaking to SHAN yesterday, he said the SSA’s seizure of precursors and “cooking” utensils from the Wanpang People’s Militia Force (PMF) which were turned over to the Burma Army had only been given a cold shoulder by the latter.
According to Tai Freedom, the SSA’s website, the haul at the Wanpang PMF base in Laikhai township, Shan State South, included:
52 pails of ether
57 bottles of Sulphuric Acid
245 bars of Saramaka (Ammonia)
11 sacks of soda
30 kg of # 3 heroin
Cooked opium 25 bags
Raw opium 1 bag
To the disappointment of militia members and villagers who had tipped the SSA, Kaling Htoi, the PMF leader has been left untouched by the military authorities. Reports of his new recruitment drive to replenish his dwindled force and executions of those who had filed complaints and reports to both authorities and party officials have been received by SHAN.
“Later on, Burmese narcotics officials from Naypyitaw raided the Markkieng PMF (in Namzang township, Shan State South),” said Yawd Serk. “But they returned empty-handed, because the refinery and all the evidences had already been removed after receiving a hot tip from Namzang authorities.”
Another surprise raid was launched on 13 February by Tachilek authorities at Pha Khao village, Loi Tawkham tract. Although 8.7 million pills of methamphetamine (“yaba”) were confiscated, the owners who are PMF members, were tipped off to stage a timely getaway, according to militia sources.
“Militias have been formed under our supervision,” Col Win Maung, then Mongton area commander, was reported as telling a militia leader in SHAN’s Hand in Glove: The Burma Army and the Drug Trade in Shan State (2006). “You have been loyal to us as our eyes and ears. … Ceasefire groups are merely enemies who have taken a break in the fighting against us.”
The Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) is planning to present a cooperation against drugs proposal to the newly set up Union level Peacemaking Working Committee during the coming weekend in Kengtung.
Naypyitaw’s 3 stage peace process includes: Ceasefire, Development and Cooperation against drugs, and Political dialogue leading to a Panglong-like conference.