Local sources in Tachilek told SHAN the South Korean NGOs who claim 64 North Koreans are being held by “rebels” in Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai, need to be clearer about the identity of their kidnappers.
“The sa-ya-pha (Military Affairs Security) and police officers all want to know who they are,” said a businessman. “But no one so far has been able to provide the information. It really is up to the South Korean NGOs to reveal their identity.”
According to AFP report, 13 July, the North Koreans, 80% of them women, have been held northeast of Tachilek over the past 9 years. The rebels, said Pastor Kim Hee-Tae, were asking for $ 5,000 ransom for each of the hostages. He also told AFP women were forced to work at alcohol manufacturing or drug processing plants and some into prostitution. Male captives meanwhile were used to grow poppies.
“For one thing, there is only one rebel group operating here,” said a local militia officer. “That is the United Wa State Army (UWSA). It has been permitted to run farms along the Mekong by the government for a long time.
“The Shan State Army (SSA) has not been active here for a long time,” he added. “And since they have just concluded ceasefire with the government, they still don’t have business concessions around here.”
Other groups active in the area are:
Border Guard Force (BGF) 1008 – One of its commanders Sai Long Marn, a former follower of the late Godfather Naw Kham, operates around Wantong, Mong Phong tract
Paliao People’s Militia Force (PMF), whose leader Ja Law aka Sai Long aka Zhang Xi, 50, is active around Nayao-Talerh
Inn Hseng aka Khin Maung Latt, of Mong Lane, who has been collecting taxes from gold-digging boats along the Lane river, a tributary of the Mekong (1 baht of gold for small boats per month and 20 baht from large boats)
Both the SSA and UWSA have denied knowledge of the hostages.
The Mekong, since the Chinese demolished its rapids a decade earlier, has been in use both for legal and illegal businesses.
Myanmar’s Lower House speaker said that he had no quarrel with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), and that treating her as an enemy would only cause history to repeat itself.
“National unity broke up at that time because of disunity between parties. We should take lesson from that. Aung San Suu Kyi is leader of the opposition as well as leader of the public in part. If we treat her as an enemy, our country’s history will repeat itself,” said the speaker.
Speaker Thura Shwe Mann made the comment on Thursday during a meeting with reporters and editors from the Myanmar Journalists Network in Nay Pyi Taw. He added that cooperation between parties was necessary in order to forge national unity.
MP’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Swe were also present at the meeting.
“You (reporters) ask simply. Don’t do anything that can lead to quarrel and argument between us. We will never quarrel each other,” Shwe Mann said.
Shwe Mann also said cooperation must be forged with Suu Kyi as she is the daughter of late national leader (General Aung San) and has a kind heart and good qualifications. Unity between high-profile party members could generate unity and cooperation between lower level party members, he added.
Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest after the NLD won a landslide victory in the 1990 general election, becoming an icon for the pro-democracy movement. She has widely claimed she intends to run for president in the next elections in 2015.
Myanmar has been under 50 years of military rule since 1962 and initiated democratic reform just two years ago.