Burma

Landmine Kills Two Shan Civilians in Northern Myanmar

By Lawi Weng 12 March 2020

Two villagers were killed by a landmine and another was wounded near Kham Sar village, Kyaukme Township in northern Shan State.

The police said an ethnic Shan group, including children, on March 10 were collecting snails to cook at a river near their village when someone stepped on a mine.

Two men, 67 and 40, died at the scene. The wounded 20-year-old is being treated at the hospital in Kyaukme.

“The three victims had gone ahead to look for more snails when the explosion happened,” said U Aung Htay Win, a Kyaukme police officer told The Irrawaddy.

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar’s army are fighting each other around Kyaukme. Civilian deaths from landmines are common.

It was difficult to say which group planted the mines, said U Aung Htay Win.

The police could not investigate the blast because the area was unsafe, he added.

The two bodies were buried at the village, preventing the police from inspecting the corpses, the officer said.

According to the UN children’s charity, Unicef, there were 176 landmine casualties in 2017, 278 in 2018 and from January to September 2019 there were 168 casualties in Shan, Kachin and Rakhine states.

Shan State had the highest casualties from landmines last year with 19 deaths and 59 injuries, according to Unicef.

Rakhine State came second with 13 deaths and 27 people injured. Kachin State was third with six deaths and 24 injuries.

More than 40 people were killed and over 160 injured by landmines in 2019, according to U Win Naing Tun, director general of the rehabilitation department at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

The RCSS, TNLA and Myanmar’s army all used landmines, according to residents, although all the armed groups deny using the allegations. According to a 2018 report by the Landmine Monitor, Myanmar’s military is the only national army in the world still using antipersonnel mines.

The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor has been monitoring the use of landmines in Myanmar since 1999.

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