Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Opium War in 1987,Product of CIA (3)

Opium War in Golden Triangle

We just walked past the sleeping village and after less than an hour on the road we hit the village of Kone-zone two miles away from Mone-mah Village. It was a small village with only about 25 households. Everyone in the village was asleep but immediately woken up by our surrounding and entering of their little village.

And the villagers were fearful and really scared of us as they didn’t expect Myanmar soldiers that early at dawn inside their opium growing village.

“Don’t be scared. We’re not gonna do any harm. Just show us Khun Yee’s house.”

We found Khun Yee’s prominent house right in the middle of small poor village. Only his house was on the fenced-block. All other houses were thatch-roofed and split-bamboo-walled but his was corrugated-iron- sheet-roofed and pine-timber-plank-walled.

Khun Yee wasn’t there and nor his wife. Only Khun Yee’s old parents were there. The wife was in Tangh-yang and Khun Yee was also on a trip. We searched the house but didn’t find anything suspicious.

“Yeah, Lt. Kyaw Htay, what do you think of the situation?”
“I can’t say much, Captain. According to our intelligence he already had Opium bought and accumulated here. He supposed to have at least 10 mules and horses and also nearly 40-50 men with him here.”
“So, we just have to continue clearing the area.”

While I was discussing with Lt. Kyaw Htay Lance Corporal Nyi Kurt and his men from a guard patrol came back in.

“Captain, here we caught a Shan boy with a Carbine and a horse!”
“Wow, how did you catch him?”
“He came in from the North with Carbine across his shoulder and leading the horse. I called out to him in Shan to come in. So he thought we were his men and came in and so we grabbed him.”

Lance Corporal Nyi Kurt was a Lwela man and also fluent in Shan Language. He was originally from Ving-ngun Shan Militia (KKY) led by Maha Pyinnyar. When Ving-ngun Militia was disbanded and absorbed into our army he was made a lance corporal and a section leader in my company.

He was literate and a respected leader in his old militia and he could speak and read both Shan and Chinese fluently. Battalion had already promised him a promotion to a corporal very soon and then to a sergeant.

“That’s real good, Corporal. A prisoner in the early morning. Can you ask him where his boss Khun Yee is?

The little boy soldier was in a half uniform/half mufti of camouflage shirt and Levis Jean. He looked like only thirteen or fourteen years old. He was just a child soldier. Lance Nyi Kurt asked him in Shan. Being a child he didn’t dare to lie and he immediately answered.

“Captian, boy said Khun Yee doesn’t live in the big house. Only when his wife is here he comes back. Rest of the time he lives in his camp.”
“Oh, so where is his camp? Ask him again. That’s important.”

Nyi Kurt asked the boy again and the Shan boy quickly answered.

“Just over a mile ahead. Khun Yee is there too.”
“Hey, let’s go get them. Lt. Kyaw Htay, you come along with two platoons. CSM and a platoon stay here and guard the village,” I rapidly ordered the battle plan.
“Okay, Nyi Kurt, ask the boy to guide us there. Let’s get there quick.”
WE left all our heavy backpacks and equipment in the village and almost ran with just guns and light equipment on us. Day was already broken and in the morning light we reached the opium camp in less than half an hour.

There we found five large thatch-roofed and thatch-walled huts just beside the wide road. But not a single soul was there as the insurgents had already left the camp in hurry. The largest hut was used as the stable for horses and mules and three smaller ones were the living quarters.

The last hut was their opium refinery. Inside were about 50 of one kilo raw opium bundles they couldn’t carry along with them. They seemed to be refining the raw opium not just into morphine base but also into heroin too as we found the chemicals, glass containers, and the plastic containers of acids used in producing heroin in the makeshift lab.

“I think they are cooking heroin here,” I thought aloud.

Soon one of our patrols caught a villager coming from the northeast and he said he just came back from his farm.

“Have you seen Khun Yee and his men on the way?” we asked him and he said he saw Khun Yee and his men with 10 horses and mules packed with opium bundles rushing towards Naung-lai.

“Are we chasing Khun Yee now, Captain?” Lt. Kyaw Htay asked.
“No, too many of our troops in this area. If we go out of our grids and get into others’ grids we can be mistaken as enemy. I already got into serious troubles two three times with deadly friendly-fires. Let’s go back to Kone-zone.”

At 6 in the morning I reported our actions by radio to Tactical Command at Tangh-yang. Tactical Command ordered us to backtrack along our way and clear the Mone-mah Village. So we carried all the stuff we captured and rushed back to Mone-mah.

It was too late when we got there as all the insurgents previously there had fled and we found only the villagers. No traces of our columns supposed to be there too.

“What happened with our columns?” I called and asked the Tactical Command and the Command simply replied that because of heavy rain all other columns except mine couldn’t reach their targets in time. Especially those columns had to carry heavy-weapons and the shells unlike us so they couldn’t travel as fast as us.

The GSO-3 Captain Nyi Shin said in his radio message, “Captain Thet Oo, so far only your Galone Company has reached the target. All other columns missed their targets and the insurgents had fled.”

“That’s great. Lt. Kyaw Htay, only us the Galones reached the target in time. The rest didn’t make their targets at all,” I had to tell him that we beat other columns.

The Galone (Garuda) Column was the secret code name given to our company by the Tangh-yang Tactical Command.

The Galone (Garuda) Column was the secret code name given to our company by the Tangh-yang Tactical Command.
(Colonel Thet Oo's "My Opium Operations")

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