Monday, May 20, 2024

Landmine Injures Nawngkio Farmers

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Five civilians were injured after accidentally stepping on a hidden landmine in Nawngkio Township where fighting recently broke out between regime and resistance forces in northern Shan State.

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“The People’s Defence Force (PDF) clashed with the Burma army at the site where the landmine exploded,” a 40-year-old man told SHAN on condition of anonymity. He said the residents of Nawng Khe detonated the hidden explosive device at 11am on 29 April on their way to their sugarcane farm and were all in critical condition at Nawngkio hospital in Kyaukme District.

Sai Su (43) and Sai Kyaw Tun (47) suffered serious leg injuries. The other victims are Sai Pa Sein (26), Sai San Wong (25) and Sai San Kyaung (24).

No one knows for sure which of the armed groups planted the landmine but local residents fear that there may be more landmines in the area.

“Although there are no clashes (at present), we fear the danger of explosions caused by abandoned and unexploded munitions and landmines…Some people have already returned to their villages, but they are afraid to go to their farms. We do not feel safe in the area because of the hidden landmines,” the man said.

On 3 April, a farmer from Kon Nyaung stepped on a concealed explosive device on his way to his sugar cane farm.

Since the PDF and sit-tat fought between 5 to 22 April, 9 people were injured by landmines in the township. At least 3 civilians were killed in the fighting. More than 1,500 people were displaced by the clashes and at least 24 houses were damaged, while 460 acres of sugarcane land were burnt by shelling.

According to Landmine Monitor’s Myanmar, 368 people were killed and 121 people wounded by landmines and old munitions in 2020. Of these, Shan State accounted for 42%, Sagaing Region for 12%, Rakhine State for 11%, Kachin State for 10% and 7% for Karen State. To decrease causalities, the group called for a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of leftover ammunition.

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