A landmine explosion killed a Buddhist abbot and a villager, while injuring a novice monk in Burma’s northern Shan State this Tuesday (July 14).
Aung Maung, who is a parliamentarian for Namkham Township, where the village is located, said they stepped on a landmine that was planted near a pagoda on the grounds of their monastery at around 5:30 pm. The trio were cleaning the monastery grounds in Lawt Nor when they detonated the hidden explosive device.
“The abbot was killed on the spot after suffering injuries all over his body. The villager had a chest injury and his hand was severed. He later died in his home. The novice came out of it with minor injuries.”
Aung Maung says many mines are planted around the monastery. “I am very upset about what happened to the abbot, the novice monk and the villager.”
Before his death, the abbot, 36, served 16-years of religious service. The villager, who also perished, was only 20-years-old.
According to locals, Burma Army soldiers often stay at the Lawt Nor monastery. Although there is no active fighting in the area with ethnic armed organizations, Tatmadaw columns on patrol often pass through the village, located about 30 miles from Namkham town.
Both Burma Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army are based in the area.
Locals have called for both groups to remove their mines around Lawt Nor.
Following Buddhist customs, the abbot’s body will be cremated after one week. The novice is undergoing medical treatment for his injuries in Lawt Nor.