Peace and stability in border areas and drug issues
- The year 2017 saw quite a number of news items on the arrest of narcotic drugs across the nation. According to the news report on 18th January 2018, it was learnt that Ks. 70 billion worth of drugs were seized in Thein-ni and Kutkai townships. Such news items on the arrest of drugs are ubiquitous, especially in Kachin, Shan, Rakhine States and Sagaing and Taninthari regions, that is, in the border areas touching with China, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Final reports for 2017 show that there were 27 cases of arrests related to drugs in Maungtaw District, Rakhine State from January 2017 to December 2017, in which amphetamine tablets amounting to 11 million were seized. Those include cases of arrest in the Naf river while smuggling out of the country to deliver them to the neighboring country, including the arrests in the Bengali villages next to Maungtaw township. Get-rich-quick people in that area were said to be the ones who got involved in dealing with drugs. There were events of sudden armed attacks in Maungtaw District, over 3 border police outposts in October 2016 and over 30 border police outposts in August 2017. Taking advantage of regional instability, drug dealing has been operated on a large scale more than ever.
Phakant township, a famous town which produces valuable Myanmar Jade is a notorious place where drug abuses are rapidly spreading. In 2017 there were 383 cases of drug seizure in that township, with 472 culprits arrested. 6 kinds of drugs weighing over 750 kilogram in all, such as heroin, opium, solidified opium, liquid opium like laudanum and amphetamine tablets, were seized, it was learnt. There are several hundred thousand of migrant workers living currently in Phakant. It is said that drug abuses spread into the migrant populace since many years ago.
On a nationwide scale, there were 9544 cases of drugs and its total seizures were estimated at K 353.6 billion in 2017, it was said. In the list of seizure there included 1256 kilo of opium, 570.6 kilo of heroin, over 72.8 million amphetamine tablets, 198.8 kilo of marijuana and 1107 kilo of “Ice’. A total of culprits—12405 males and 1595 females, who got involved in 9544 cases were arrested, it was learnt.
Mexico is notorious for drug trafficking in the world. Over 25000 people were killed due to drug-related crimes and fights among gangs in 2017 while nearly 20000 deaths happened in 2016, it was said. In the Philippines as well, there over 6000 deaths in the suppression of the narcotic drugs. Narcotic drug issues are found to be directly related to political instability, poor economic status and weakness in rule of law. In Myanmar as well, drugs were seized here and there across the country, due to lack of peace and stability and rule of law in bordering areas. Accordingly, strong and effective actions need to be taken against drug trafficking as a national obligation. At the same time we also need to work hard on achieving internal peace so that we can bring law and order and stability to the border areas.