Burma

Woman Loses Leg in Landmine Blast in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

By Min Aung Khine 6 January 2021

SITTWE, Rakhine State—A woman in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township, which has seen a lull in fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) over the past two months, lost one of her limbs in a mine blast on Monday.

Daw Khaing San May, 43, from Khabaw Village, stepped on a landmine while collecting firewood on a mountain to the east of the village, according to her sister Daw Ma Hla Phyu, who witnessed the incident.

She said she had to carry her sister to the village on her back. Myanmar’s military and the AA engaged in fierce clashes on the mountain in March last year.

Daw Khaing San May lost one of her legs and also suffered injuries to her face in the landmine blast. She was transferred from Kyauktaw Hospital to Sittwe General Hospital in the state capital due to the severity of her wounds.

Seventeen civilians have been killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war left by the Tatmadaw and the AA in Kyauktaw over the past three years, according to Lower House lawmaker U Oo Tun Win of Kyauktaw Township.

Meanwhile, 50 civilians were killed and 218 injured in artillery strikes in Kyauktaw between 2018 and September last year, according to the lawmaker.

According to the Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC), 33 civilians have been killed and 67 injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war in Rakhine during the conflict between the AA and the military. Most of the victims have been women.

“There have been fewer donations [of assistance] for displaced people due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Though they know the risks posed by landmines, women take the risk and go into the forests to collect vegetables. Therefore, there are a larger number of women victims,” said U Zaw Zaw Tun, secretary of the REC.

According to the REC’s data, 342 civilians have been killed and 740 injured in northern Rakhine State as a result of the conflict between the Tatmadaw and the AA over the past three years.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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