The Karen National Union increased its efforts in its anti-narcotic crackdown saw more than 200 drug dealers and users arrested in the three months from June to August, 2016.
Padoh Saw Maung Shwe, chairman of Win Yay (Woraw) Township, Dooplaya District said that the KNU is serious about taking action against the people involved in the drug trade.
“Over 200 drugs dealers and users and others who came and gave themselves in have been arrested” Padoh Saw Muang Shwe said. “Some [minor offenders] have been made ‘aware about drug’s and others have been charged under the KNU narcotic drugs act.”
The KNU said that in carrying out its anti-narcotic crackdown they encountered a number of challenges including, conflict among different groups with vested interests. Despite some groups been opposed to its action, the KNU said that it will continue to fight against drugs that affect national unity and are destroying a new generation of young people, Saw Maung Shwe said.
KNU figures show that 90% of those arrested and charged were young people. Those arrested have been held at KNU police stations in Thitkatite and Parpya villages in Win Yay Township. Drug dealers have been charged under the Kaw Thoo Lei special narcotic drugs act, according to KNU officials.
Saw Htoo Win, a villager from of Kalae village said that there are still much more work to do to crack down on major drug dealers.
“Key dealers still remain, but their numbers are decreasing. Young people who use drugs have decreased. We have seen some addicts go as far as trying to kill their relatives, wives and parents while under the influence of these drugs.”
Saw Htoo Win said that it was important that the community and authorities take strong action against the drug dealers.
“We’d like to urge the KNU, [Burma National] police and the Border Guard Force to get rid of these drugs completely.”
But some locals claim that since the KNU do not have a comprehensive anti-narcotics plan in place in Win Yay Township and it is still in the process of attaining a higher level of cooperation with the government, its anti-narcotic activities need to be more effective.