Thai police raid Karen National Union homes

Oct 28, 2009 (DVB), Thai security officers yesterday raided around 10 houses belonging to key Karen leaders in the Thai border town of Mae Sot.

Among those searched were houses belonging to the chairman of the Karen National Union (KNU), General Tamala Baw, and general secretary Naw Zipporrah Sein, KNU officials said.

Thai authorities were reportedly not checking legal documents, an excuse frequently used to raid property, but were searching for weapons and explosives.

According to unconfirmed reports, explosives used to make landmines were found at a house belonging to the wife of Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) commander, Nardah Mya. The KNLA is the armed wing of the KNU.

The woman is now reportedly in detention. Nardah Mya himself was charged earlier this year by Thai authorities for illegal possession of firearms.

Migrant schools and offices belonging to Burmese organizations in Mae Sot have closed following widespread panic about further raids.

Last week Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva appeared to hold cordial dicussions with his Burmese counterpart at the 15th ASEAN summit in Thailand.

Burmese prime minister Thein Sein reportedly promised that Burma would not be used as a launch pad for attacks by other countries on Thailand.

The KNU has long kept a presence on the Thai side of the border, and controlled much of the black market border trade. Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Sinawatra's close relationship with the Burmese junta however placed a strain on KNU activity in Thailand.

Reporting by DVB

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