A crude explosive device detonated and killed two girls yesterday after it was handled by children in southern Shan State’s Laikha Township, according to a local elected representative.
The blast took place at about 2:30 p.m. near Nam Teng Bridge, two miles east of Laikha town, while the two girls were playing with their three siblings, confirmed Sai Mon, a recently elected member of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in Laikha.
“Five children were playing with an explosive that they had found nearby, when it went off,” he said. “The explosion killed two girls and wounded three other children.”
The two girls who lost their lives in the explosion were eight and 13 years old, respectively.
Sai Mon described the explosion as “very powerful,” making recognition of the victims difficult.
Local authorities came to the scene after the incident. Although the origin of the explosive could not be confirmed, Sai Mon said it was suspected that the bomb was of the same variety used for “blast fishing”, a controversial local practice of throwing explosives into water to kill large numbers of fish instantaneously and indiscriminately. It is also called “fish bombing.”
Other than the risk of premature or delayed detonation, blast fishing has been criticized for its environmental impact, which includes the destruction of all marine life at the site of the underwater explosion.
This is the second explosion in Laikha Township within the last month; the first was on October 17 at Honong Loong temple, just before a Shan literature conference was to take place. But, no one was injured in the incident.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)