One Child Dead and Five Injured in Northern Shan State Landmine Blast

Monday, August 3, 2020

One child was killed and five injured in a landmine blast in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township last week.

Three suffered serious injuries and had to undergo emergency surgery in Lashio hospital. They were eight, seven, and five years old, respectively.

A local told NMG on the condition of anonymity said that the blast occurred in Kho Tin village on July 30, and that the child who died was a five-year-old girl named Nang Kein Kham.

“One girl had serious landmine injuries. As a result of her injuries, she could not breathe well, so we didn’t send her to the Lashio hospital. She died in the Kutkai hospital,” the local source said.

Of the children who were transferred to Lashio, one sustained injuries to their head, another to their legs, and another to their shoulders.

“The children were heavily bleeding. They were crying because they were in so much pain,” the local said.

Two children, ages four and two, had minor injuries and were treated in Kho Tin village.

“The landmine blasted at around 4:00 p.m. I don’t know where the children found the landmine. Then they played with it. I was afraid when I saw them. There was so much blood,” the grandmother of one of the injured children told NMG.

She added that seven children had been playing together, but one was not hit in the blast.

After frequent landmine blasts in northern Shan State, locals and civil society organizations have demanded that armed organizations not plant mines near villages.

“All armed organizations use landmines. A landmine exploded at a house yesterday. I don’t think it should have happened,” Lway Poe Jay, the joint secretary-1 of the Ta’ang Student and Youth Union (TSYU), told NMG following the incident, adding that locals need to be informed by armed groups about where the landmines are located.

According to locals, in July 2019 Burmese soldiers had stayed in the house where the landmine went off. The Burma Army and ethnic armed organizations had clashes during that period.

In July alone, mines exploded in three villages in Kutkai Township—in Nam Kwam on July 8, Mong Yulay on July 12, and Per Nin on July 14. One person died and at least 15 people were injured.

On July 30, the UN humanitarian aid agency OCHA reported that 64 percent of landmine victims in Burma last year were civilians. More than half of the victims were in Rakhine State.