One of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) top ranking officials, Ta Pan, was not seen among group of 16 opium traffickers released recently by the government’s special amnesty, according to sources from the group.
“They were only his followers, not him. He is still required to serve his full term,” said a source.
Ta Pan was Commander of Mongyawn-based 2518th Independent Regiment (new renamed 518th Brigade) and is an adopted son of Bao Youri, eldest brother of Bao Youxiang, the United Wa State Army’s supreme commander and leader.
He together with other 16 officers were arrested by the Burma Army in September 2005 in Mongpiang, 100 km west of Kengtung following a seizure of 496 kg of heroin.
They were sentenced to ten years in jail under the Narcotic Law Section 19 (A) by the district court in Kengtung, capital of Shan State East on 22 September, 2005, and transferred to Buthidaung Prison on the western Burmese border.
According to Narinjara report on 21 September, the government on 16 September released 16 opium traffickers who are the Wa ethnic nationalities from Buthidaung prison with the special relaxation on their lengthy jail terms.
“Their release can likely be related to the recent ceasefire agreement signed between the two sides [The UWSA and Government],” according to a border watcher.
The release came after the government and its group met on 6 September to sign a new ceasefire pact.
8 top leaders of the UWSA, including Chairman Bao Youxiang and Wei Hsuehkang have indicted by a New York Court in January 2005. shan news