Landmine Kills War Vet in Northern Rakhine

By Min Aung Khine 8 March 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State — A landmine killed a 68-year-old man in Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U Township on Wednesday, bringing to five the number of civilians killed by landmines or unexploded ordnance in northern Rakhine and the neighboring township of Paletwa in Chin State since February.

The Myanmar military and Arakan Army have been fighting in the area since late last year.

On Tuesday, the Chin Human Rights Organization said U Aung Lun, a resident of Shin Ma Dein Village in Paletwa, was forced to guide the military’s Light Infantry Battalion 544 at the head of the column and was killed after stepping on a mine near the Bangladesh border on Feb. 25.

A captain and other soldiers were also seriously injured by the blast, the rights group said in a report, adding that the military promised to compensate the victim’s family in line with ethnic Chin traditions.

Two days later, a couple from Ahtet Thin Pone Tan Village in Ponnagyun Township died when an artillery shell they had found in the forest exploded while they were taking it home. Two other villagers on the boat with the couple were also injured.

On Dec. 29, an ethnic Mro villager from Leik Hpa Village, also in Ponnagyun, was injured after stepping on a landmine.

These figures exclude deaths from accidental shootings or assassination.

In the latest incident, three residents of Auk Tha Kan Village were on their way home from the forest at about 6 a.m. on Wednesday when one of them stepped on a landmine, according to police Capt. Aung Thu Myo of the Mrauk-U Township police force.

The man, a 68-year-old war veteran, lost his leg below the knee from the blast and bled to death on the way to the hospital in Mrauk-U.

“The two others were slightly injured,” U Tun Than Sein, a state lawmaker who represents Mrauk-U, told The Irrawaddy.

The military and Arakan Army clashed near the site of the mine blast on Feb. 19 and 20, according to locals.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.