NEW DELHI: The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a heavily-armed Myanmar rebel group fighting the military junta in that country is suspected to be providing “protection” to an organised Malayasian-Chinese gang which continues to hold at least 150 Indian IT professionals trapped at a location on the Myanmar-Thailand border.
Sources in Indian security agencies revealed that Myanmar’s Myawaddy district in Karen State, which is in the control of the KNLA and has seen frequent gun battles between armed cadres of the insurgent group and the Myanmar army in the recent past, has also been a centre of gun-running for some years.
The KNLA and even the Arakan Army, another insurgent group, have traditionally “favoured” using Myawaddy as an important part of the route used by the outfits to bring in heavy weapons from China.
The software engineers, mostly from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, were entrapped in a job racket that four companies, primarily managed by some Dubai-based Chinese nationals suspected to have forced the Indians professionals to launch cyber fraud, including those related to crypto-currency and other related crimes. While 32 such Indians were rescued since the fraud came to light in July.
Others are said to have paid hefty ransom money to free themselves. While the Ministry of External Affairs has been trying to use available resources in Myanmar and Thailand to help rescue the techies, the lack of precise on-the-ground information is delaying officials’ efforts to secure the release of the software engineers still stuck in and around Myawaddy.