In a media statement released yesterday, the Karen National Union say they have reason to believe the Burma government and its armed militia, the Border Guard Force, plotted to smear the KNU as drug runners.
The KNU were responding to media reports in Thai newspapers and on television that two men arrested by border patrol police and a village headman as they crossed the River Moei, the border between Thailand and Burma, were carrying drugs.
The KNU media statement explained that the two arrested drug runners had got their stories wrong.
“The arrested men identified themselves as members of the KNU and from Min Gyi Mien Battalion. The fact of the matter is that there is no such KNU battalion known as Min Gyi Mien.”
The KNU said their investigations had identified the two men as members of the BGF under the control of the Burma Army. The KNU media statement said.
“It is clear that the case was a contrived plot by the BGF and their masters to tarnish the image of the KNU. We have reason to believe that the hands of the military-backed USDP government are involved in this dirty plot.”
The KNU is renowned for its tough anti-drug stance and heavy penalties for drug producers and traffickers. The KNU reiterated that stance in its media statement.
“The KNU has consistently followed a strong anti-drug policy and laid down heavy penalty against drug producers and traffickers, because it views drug production and trafficking as a crime against humanity.”
The KNU accused the Burma government of following the same policies as the military regime.
“The Burmese government is following the same policies [as its predecessors] of expanding the civil war, ethnic cleansing and using drug trafficking to raise funds at the expense of the country’s youth.”
The KNU said the Burma’s president U Thein Sein recent calls for peace with ethnic groups was in stark contrast to the government’s actions.
“U Thein Sein and his cohorts talked about eliminating corruption, fighting poverty and ending the civil war, while buying secretly more offensive weapons and feverishly amassing funds for a general offensive against ethnic people in the dry season. Their words have no more sincerity than those of a conman.”