By Naw Noreen
Democratic Karen Benevolent (Buddhist) Army’s leader Na Kham Mwe dismissed allegations made by Thailand’s government that he was involved in narcotics trafficking during a press conference yesterday at the group’s headquarters in eastern Burma’s Karen state.
Na Kham Mwe, who is also known as Saw La Bwe, said he has never manufactured or traded narcotics – individually or through proxy forces.
Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board placed a one million baht bounty on the leader last week for what they say is his role in the drug trade.
Saw Gon Aung, secretary of the DKBA’s political-wing Klohtoobaw Karen Organisation, said the Thai government’s accusation was damaging the credibility of not only Na Kham Mwe and the DKBA but also the whole of Burma.
“General Saw La Bwe had never involved with the narcotic business. He has never manufactured or traded narcotics individually or through another person. He said that if [the Thai authorities] can show provide evidence [of his involvement with drugs], he will go to the International Criminal Court and accept punishment,” said Saw Gon Aung.
While the DKBA said they’ve tried to contact the Thai authorities, the ONCB said they had not received any messages from the group.
On April 20, the ONCB announced that they had placed bounties on 25 drug lords in the region.