Monday, June 11, 2007

Drugs go up in somke

SSA leader Colonel Yawd Serk set drugs on fire.

Drugs go up in smoke

The Shan State Army (SSA), one of the few remaining ethnic armies fighting the military junta of Burma, yesterday held a massive drug bonfire at a military base in Loi Kawwan as part of its campaign to win support from abroad.

In front of about 500 observers from Burma's Shan State and Thailand, SSA leader Colonel Yawd Serk set more than one million methamphetamine tablets, or "ya ba" pills, on fire.

Foreign journalists also observed proceedings at Loi Kawwan base, which is opposite Chiang Rai's Mae Fah Luang district.

The drugs were seized by a 30-strong unit of SSA soldiers who intercepted a shipment coming down the Mekong on Feb 6. A one-hour shoot-out between the traffickers and the SSA unit ended in the death of two soldiers and the sinking of three boats.

The incident took place just north of the "Golden Triangle".

The drugs appeared to have originated from Burma's so-called Special Region 2, an area along the Sino-Burmese border controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), dubbed the world's largest drug trafficking army by the US State Department. The pro-Rangoon UWSA and the SSA, accused by the Burmese junta of being a Thai proxy, are historical enemies and continue to engage in sporadic clashes.

Yawd Serk said the SSA was ready to enter cease-fire talks with the Burmese junta and even cooperate with them on drug suppression.

Wiwatchai Sukhum, The Nation, LOI KAWWAN, BURMA

Friday, May 25, 2007

Planned junta-SSA meeting called off

Maj Lao Hseng

23 May 2007 S.H.A.N

The planned historic meeting between the Burma Army and Shan State Army (SSA) South on the border today was postponed indefinitely after the Burma Army delegation failed to appear at the venue, according to SSA leader Col Yawdserk.

Speaking from his Loi Taileng base, opposite Thailand's Maehongson, the 50-year old commander expressed his "disappointment" that the meeting failed to take place as planned. "I hope both sides will regard this only as a temporary setback, as it will truly be in the interests of all those concerned if we can meet sometime in the near future."

The meeting was called off reportedly because both sides could not agree on the venue. The Burma Army had wanted its first get-together with the SSA delegation led by Assistant Secretary General and Spokesperson Maj Lao Hseng to take place in Tachilek. "The first meeting, we believe, should be at a neutral location," said Yawdserk. "But future meetings can be held anywhere, even Pyinmana, if sufficient mutual trust has been built up."

The SSA South, since 1996, has been calling for peace talks with the Burma Army. The latter had in the past insisted that the former had no choice but to surrender. The latest call for the meeting had come from the Burma Army, that had for unexplained reasons made a complete U turn in its policy towards the SSA.