Six people are dead and one has been taken into the custody of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) after a second shootout in as many days over alleged drug trafficking in eastern Shan State.
Wa soldiers reportedly seized 3 million yaba pills in the incident in the UWSA’s Military Region 171 on the evening of October 2, which followed a gunfire fight in Mongton Township on October 1 that left two dead and led to the seizure of 1.8 million pills.
According to UWSA sources, the Wa soldiers ordered the alleged drug traffickers to disarm, but they refused, leading to a shootout.
The UWSA’s Lashio liaison officer Nyi Rang said that those apprehended and killed on October 2 had escaped the clash the day before. Further drug seizures occurred the following day, on October 3, he added, but that an official report for that day was still forthcoming.
“We are still investigating this case,” Nyi Rang said, adding that it was not yet known if a larger organization was behind the incident. He said that those apprehended were nationals of Burma.
“We can not predict the trafficking route. Our southern military camp is located about 400 meters from the Thai border,” Nyi Rang told SHAN.
The UWSA has long been accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade. Nyi Rang alleged that in the past, traffickers have claimed to have an affiliation with the UWSA when sending drugs to Thailand.
“We have tried to block the drug trafficking in our southern area,” he said.