One of Asia’s most notorious warlords, Khun Sa, has died in the Myanmar city of Rangoon. He had reportedly been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.
After decades of guerrilla warfare against the Burmese government, largely funded by his drugs empire, Sa signed a peace deal in 1996. He then retire to Rangoon, where he lived under the protection of the military rules, despite the United States offering $2 million( 1 million pounds) for his capture.
He was once one of the world’s most wanted men, with a vast drug-trafficking operation in the so-called Golden Triangle region, spanning the border of Thailand, laos and M yanmar. With a private army numbering in the hundreds, sa claimed to be fighting for independence for the Shan people- an ethnic minority group based mainly in Burma.
But he fell out with other Shan leaders in the mid- 1990s and surrendered to the Burmese military government. After his death, a former colleague said few in the shan separatist movement would be mourning.
” He was a man with lofty ideals.He thought of becoming the liberator of shan state,” former guerrilla Khuensai Jaiyen told Reuters. ” but when the people he was supposed to be leading or liberating didn’t accept his leadership, he turned his back on them”. Many have said his claims to be a freedom fighter were a ruse designed to give legitimacy to his drugs empire.
Family members and former colleagues of Khun sa, who was in his mid- seventies, said he died within the past week. The cause of his death is still unknown.