A landmine explosion on a tea farm killed a woman and injured her husband this week in Kyaukme Township.
The couple—Nang Nguen and Sai Thein—accidentally set off the concealed landmine while picking tea in Mont Mart village of Khim Kawng village tract in Mong Ngor sub-township at around 3:00 p.m. on October 9.
“They live in a hilltop village. They stepped on a landmine while they were picking tea leaves,” Mong Ngor local Lon Sai told SHAN.
Lon Sai said that Nang Nguen endured serious injuries to her legs and died on the way to the hospital. Sai Thein’s hand was wounded in the blast.
The mine explosions are becoming an increasingly common danger, he added.
“Whenever people go to the tea leaf farms, they can step on landmines. I don’t know what we will do if we cannot work to pick tea in this area. There are many landmines,” Lon Sai explained.
Multiple armed groups are active in Kyaukme Township, including the Burma Army, the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army. Clashes are frequent.
It is not known which organization planted the landmine that killed Nang Nguen.
“It’s still difficult to remove all of the landmines in the area—they have yet to be removed,” Hla Maung, who lives in Kyaukme town, told SHAN, adding that new mines have appeared along roads as well.
Another couple stepped on a landmine in a tea farm between Pan San and Tawng Palo village in Kyaukme Township on October 8, killing one woman on the spot.
At least 10 locals have stepped on landmines in Kyaukme since September, civil society organizations have reported.