Government troops have recently increased security at the entrance to Three Pagodas Pass (TPP) Town, on the Thai-Burma border along the highway of Thanbyuzayat and Kyarinnseikkyi, and also at the outskirts of TPP town.
Both police and Tatmadaw [Burma army] troops are waiting at the entrance to town, while Tatmadaw troops have increased their presence along the highways. Since October 3, the troops have regularly inspected vehicles and motorbikes for security.
“It started last Monday [Oct. 3], when they increased the security,” said a local trader in TPP who has close contacts with the Tatmadaw. “Weapons to be sent to the Burmese side were found in Mae Sot. So, as such weapons can be transported into the country from other countries through the border, as well as the drugs, so the security was increased for inspection,” said the trader, who requested anonymity.
On the night of September 30, the No. 4 Special Military Division seized weapons from six Burmese citizens in Tak District on the Thai-Burma border. These weapons included 141 hand-grenade M 67, 51 packs of M 79 bullets, 22 point type of rifle and many more bullets, according to Thai media sources.
Those weapons and ammunition are assumed to belong to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which is in armed engagement with the Tatmadaw troops, stated the head of No. 4 Special Military Division in an address to media groups.
In a related development, Karen State Police Force reported that on August 18, Burma’s border-based battalion and police force raided Aung Khine Oo’s house in TPP town and seized weapons, including one rifle, a 9 MM pistol, 1 22 Sniper, 700 packs of M-16 bullets, and a M-67 hand-grenade. The joint-force also seized 12,284,000 Thai Baht, as well as 5775, 000 Kyat and several pieces of gold, worth up to 1,578,963,000 Kyat.
Also on August 18, the joint force raided Myo Naing Oo’s house in TPP’s new Kayin-Su Quarter and seized one hand grenade and 7 types of guns, including a Point 22 gun, a short M-16, a 9 MM pistol, and a gas pistol.
In addition, government troops and police forces based in TPP raided Nai Win Aung’s house in Ywa Htit Village near TPP on August 13, confiscating 42.3 gram of Ice (a type of methamphetamine), 3 M-16 guns, a SEA HAWK 45-pistol, a Point 32-pistol, a hand grenade, and more than 5000 packs of 5.56 bullets.
“Those seized weapons are connected to drug dealing,” said the TPP trader. “These are connected to some armed groups from ethnic group. But it’s difficult to disclose or name which armed groups. This is also dangerous.”
The merchant continued that in November 2010, during the general elections, the troops from DKBA intruded and attacked government offices in Myawaddy town and TPP town.
“They have not informed us yet why they have increased the security,” said an official at the New Mon State Party’s gate. “They have not informed the liaison office yet. But we usually have meetings to get informed if there are any special things.”
In TPP and the surrounding area, there are Tatmadaw troops, Police Force, Border Guard Force of Karen State, Karen National Union, NMSP, DKBA, All Burma’s Students Democratic Front (ABSDF), and Karen Peace Council. Other small armed groupware present as well, but they have already disarmed to the government.