KIO Denounce UN Drug Survey In Open Letter

The Kachin armed group called findings in Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 “groundless facts.”

Network Media Group
February 26, 2019

The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) have rejected findings in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODCU) Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 that found poppy plantations had increased in areas under its control in Kachin State.

“UNODC accused KIA (Kachin Independence Army) of cultivating poppy plantations. We don’t grow poppy. These are just groundless facts. Its affected the KIO/KIA’s reputation, so we created an open letter to reject these accusations,” said Col Naw Bu, head of KIO/KIA information department.

Opium cultivation and the armed struggle are linked, according to the drug report.

Poppy cultivation decreased in the country, the report found. In Kachin State, it decreased by 13 percent. But there have been increases in areas controlled by the KIO/KIA or where the armed group is active, said the report.

Sadon and Tanai, located east of Myitkyina, had the highest opium cultivation densities between 2013 to 2018.

These areas are not under the KIO’s control as indicated in the report, Col Naw Bu said.

“Sadon is not included in our administration area; the Border Guard Force (BGF) control that area. UNODC also stated that poppy growing in KIA controlled-area in Tanai but its also not true. Actually, the poppy is growing around the Myanmar Army and BGF camps.”

Naw Bu speculated the UNODC’s errors was a result of relying on reports with faulty information rather than conducting independent surveys.

In 1993, the KIO/KIA formed the Drugs Eradication Committee. The committee has launched an anti-drug awareness campaign, convicted drug traffickers and provided rehabilitation for drug users.