A man and woman were injured after stepping on a landmine concealed in a tea plantation in Kyaukme Township where several ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) are fighting in northern Shan State.
Yar Aye Sein, 40, and Mai Aik Nyi, 31, who have been living in a camp for internally displaced persons in Nawng Sin village for the past five months, accidentally detonated the hidden explosive device while foraging for mushrooms with four children on August 13.
While the children were unhurt, Mai Aik Nyi is in critical condition after sustaining injuries to his stomach and eye. Yar Aye Sein wounds on her hip and leg are less serious. Because of COVID-19 lockdowns closing entry roads to Nawng Sin, volunteers cannot bring them to the hospital in Kyaukme town.
To make matters worse, recent fighting between Restoration Council of Shan State and the combined forces of Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Shan State Progress Party has displaced hundreds of villagers from Pan Kwan, Pan Thabyay and Pan Hpyet.
”Some people have tried to hide in the jungle, others have fled to the town,” a woman from Pan Kwan told SHAN.
Civilians requested the EAOs not to lay landmines in areas where villagers were likely to detonate the explosives. “We have asked the armed organisations not to plant landmines near villages, tea plantations and along roads,” said a resident.
Last month, a 25-year-old villager from Pan Lin injured his legs and chest after stepping on a hidden bomb, and he still cannot walk.