DKBA Issues Warning to Troops, Public Against Illicit Trafficking Activities

The Democratic Karen Benevolent Army announced any of its soldier or any member of the public in its territory who is caught involved in drug trafficking, arms selling, human trafficking or peddling counterfeit money will face serious consequences.

The warning from DKBA’s Klo Htoo Baw headquarters was issued this month to all battalions and units, an officer said.

“We had to release these [instructions] because it was necessary. We are worried about the existence of these four restricted activities, including drugs, in our areas. We will take strong action if we see any of these activities taking place amongst our troops or our areas,” said Lieutenant General Saw Steel, deputy commander-in-chief of the DKBA.

Thai authorities have previously accused the DKBA of running a cross-border narcotics syndicate, and of dealing amphetamines.

Three of the four restrictions have been included in previous warnings, but the counterfeit money provision was added in the more recent circular. According to the DKBA, the notice also extends to members of the public caught engaged in any of the prohibited activities.

“The DKBA was quite notorious for these crimes in the past during its golden age. Now, only one or two members from the group may still be involved. I haven’t heard much about them now. As a local resident, I welcome their plan to take effective action,” a local resident of Myawaddy said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Since signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement in 2015, the DKBA has focused on regional development and cooperating with the Karen National Union (KNU) and the local police to combat drug issues, according to members of the ethnic armed group.

Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron

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