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Thai women released by breakaway armed group

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two out of three Thai women who were kidnapped by a small Karen armed group were released on Tuesday evening, according to local security officers.

The two women were released by soldiers from Battalion No. 777 of the Karen Peace Council (KPC), a unit which separated from the KPC in late 2010 and surrendered to the Burmese government.
The group received 500,000 Thai baht in ransom, and the armed group demanded 1.5 million baht for the return of the third woman.  
The three women, in their thirties, were arrested on the outskirts of Three Pagoda Pass on the Thai-Burmese border on November 2. A Burmese government Military Affairs Security Unit from Three Pagoda Pass acted as mediator.
Sources said the three women were taken hostage because they could not repay a debt in connection with illegal amphetamine tablets bought from the armed group.
The group has about 20 soldiers who are active in the Three Pagoda Pass area. After they surrendered to the government, they began conducting business interests in the area, sources said.
In 2007, an armed group led by Major General Htay Maung separated from the Karen National Union and formed the KPC. The KPC agreed to a cease-fire with the government and settled around Htokawkoe village located west of the Dawna Mountains.
The KPC declined to join the former junta’s Border Guard Force plan in 2010.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 November 2011 15:18 )  

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