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Myanmar Army Seizes Drugs, Detains Leaders in Raid on KIA Offshoot Group

Atlas of Myanmar

The Myanmar Army raided the headquarters of an offshoot of the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Shan state on Thursday, seizing illegal drugs, interrogating leaders, and confiscating about 1,000 weapons, an officer in the militia told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

When soldiers from Myanmar’s 99th Light Infantry Battalion invaded the Kaungkha militia headquarters in Lwekham village, they ordered the militiamen to surrender their guns, he said.

The registered armed group has 850 soldiers and more than 2,000 reservists not registered with the Myanmar government, as well as liaison offices in five townships in northern Shan state.

“They have taken control of the Kaungkha headquarters and restricted people’s entry,” said the militia officer, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution.

“They confiscated all the weapons and detained some of the leaders,” he said.

Though government soldiers are holding some of the leaders of the militia’s 10 groups in the town of Lashio, they have released others, he added.

“Some were summoned by name while some were asked to attend a meeting on March 24 and then were detained,” he said. “Some groups may have been related to the drug cases in the area.”

The Kaungkha militia, also known as the Kachin Defense Army (KDA), is an offshoot of the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) that signed a cease-fire with government army in 1991. The militia has been known for its involvement in drug trafficking and the production of methamphetamine tablets.

Leaders and members of the militia who hail from Yeinmaw and Hophyat villages and a leader from Lwelkham village, where large amounts of illegal drugs were found, are now being accused of being involving in drug manufacturing and failing to inform authorities.

The Myanmar Army discovered illegal narcotics and other materials and equipment valued at 267 billion kyats (US$187 million) during an 11-day period in late February and early March in Lwekham and Kaungkha villages, which were under the control of the Kaungkha militia, the online journal The Irrawaddy reported.

The officer also said that KDA vice chairman Zaw Ten is still at the militia’s headquarters, but secretary Dee Khun, and other leaders, including Zhum Khon, are being interrogated at the Myanmar military’s North Eastern Command headquarters in Lashio.

The weapons confiscated from the militia are used for the group’s own protection and not for an insurgency against the state, he said, adding that Myanmar forces should rightly take action against illegal drug activity in the region, but not to go so far as to disarm the entire militia.

Related to drug cases

Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier Gen Zaw Min Tun told RFA that he was not aware of a raid on the Kaungkha militia and the interrogation of its leaders, but that government soldiers are taking action against armed groups that have failed to inform authorities about drug-trafficking activities.

“I haven’t heard about it,” he said about the raid. “They must have somehow related it to the drug cases in the region because drug traffickers cannot do their jobs without going through local armed groups.”

Drug manufacturers, users, and those who fail to notify authorities about illegal drug activities can be prosecuted under Myanmar’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, he said.

“So they could be found guilty under the law,” Zaw Min Tun said. “As for us, we will act according to the law.”

The Myanmar Army did not confirm whether the militia is under its control, as are other such groups that operate in Myanmar.

Kutkai township residents said Myanmar soldiers have blocked roads in and out of Kaungkha village and are monitoring vehicles.

Villagers said the troops are now stationed on a prayer hill, a sacred place for local ethnic Kachin Christians.

“They are staying there temporarily for now,” said a resident who requested anonymity out of fear for his safety. “They haven’t built any permanent structures.”

“But many local civilians visit the site for religious services,” he said. “They [soldiers] claimed that they are taking care of security, but we don’t secure with them since everyone is afraid of the solders.”

Northern Shan state, which borders China, is a hotbed for flagrant drug activity, with the narcotics of choice being heroin and methamphetamine, an extremely addictive stimulant in the form of a white, bitter-tasting crystalline powder commonly sold as “yaba” tablets.

The rebel Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Kokang ethnic armed group are active in the area controlled by Kaungkha militia, though there have not engaged in clashes with the militia.

Residents predict that armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the two ethnic armies could flare up if local militias, which help keep the peace, are eliminated.

Reported by Kan Thar for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred 

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

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www.allsides.com

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www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

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The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

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