The leader of the Karen militia that attacked the Burma Army in Myawaddy in late 2010 and in the resulting firefight forcing thousands of refugees into Thailand has been admitted to a Rangoon hospital for treatment of what is feared maybe cancer.
Major General Saw Lah Pwe, also known as Na Kham Mway, is the leader of the Klo Htoo Baw faction of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army.
Karen News is led to understand that General Saw Lah Pwe is being treated in Rangon, at the North Dagon Penlong Hospital.
On December 25, General Saw Lah Pwe left his DKBA headquarter in Sone See Myaing, Myawaddy Township, Karen State, for medical treatment in Rangon.
The DKBA’s Myawaddy liaison office officer, Major Saw Maung Lay, who accompanied Saw Lah Pwe to Rangoon spoke to the Karen News.
“Now he is in the process of having his condition checked. The doctors do not yet give a diagnosis about his medical condition. We want our leader to be better soon.”
Major Saw Maung Lay said that they have a plan General Saw Lah Pwe to get treatment overseas after his medical tests in Rangoon are completed and said it will depend on his doctor’s recommendation.
DKBA sources said that General Saw Lah Pwe was visited by a number of government ministers at the Penlong hospital.
It was confirmed to Karen News that on December 26, the minister in charge of the government’s peace process, U Aung Min and minister U Hla Maung Shwe visited General Saw Lah Pwe in hospital.
Karen News is led to understand that General Saw Lah Pwe and his advisers are waiting on travel documents to be issued to them by the government in case treatment for his condition is not available in Burma.
A DKBA spokesperson confirmed to Karen News that if General Saw Lah Pwe’s disease is regarded as serious and if he is advised to seek treatment overseas, he plans to go to Singapore.
In May 2012, General Saw Lah Pwe faced allegations from the Thai government that he was a drug lord. The government put a million baht bounty on his head and placed him on their most wanted listings. General Saw Lah Pwe retaliated by closing a number of border crossings on the Burma border linking it with Thailand’s Tak province. In a press conference at the time General Saw Lah Pwe told the international media that as he was a citizen of Burma it was not possible for the Thai government to arrest him, but offered for Thailand officials to carry out their investigations of him in Burma.