(Mizzima) – A Karen commander on the Thai-Burma border has issued “threats” against Thai citizens in the area, according to Thai government officials.
Thailand warned its citizens this week after alleged “threats” were made by Na Kham Mwe, the leader of a Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) group, who was named on a government list of most-wanted drug dealers, according to media reports.
A Thai government official last week released a list of 25 people, including the DKBA leader, who is also known as “Colonel Moustache.”
Na Kham Mwe, also known as Saw Ler Pwe, allegedly issued a “threat” to Thais living in the Tak Province area. He also threatened to sue the Thai government if the allegation is not retracted.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said on Wednesday that an arrest warrant was issued against the DKBA commander as early as 2003.
A DKBA spokesperson, Captain Saw Ko Myo, told Karen News the allegation was false.
“I think the Thai government may have their reasons for making this announcement, but for us, we also have reasons to deny it, since it is not true,” Captain Saw Ko Myo said.
The DKBA statement invited Chalerm Yubumrung to come and investigate the drug claims.
The Thai government announced on April 20 that the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) was offering a 12 million baht (US $388,000) reward for the capture of 25 of the country’s most-wanted drug dealers. The list included three Burmese – Naw Kham from the Golden Triangle region, Yi Say from the Tachilek area and DKBA General Saw Ler Per from southern Karen State. Naw Kham has since been arrested in Laos and transferred to China, where he is wanted in connection with the death of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River.
Factions of the DKBA broke away from the Karen National Union in 1994. General Saw Ler Pwe’s group signed a cease-fire agreement with the Burmese government in November 2010.