Farmers Injured By Landmines Explosions

By Network Media Group
Friday, March 13, 2020

Two farmers from the same township in southern Burma were seriously injured by landmines they stepped on the same day about an hour apart.

“Both of the victims lost limbs,” said a villager from Myauk Chaw, located near where the accidents took place. “One lost his right leg and the other lost his left leg.”

Residents constantly have to worry about the dangers of landmines sometimes laying hidden in their fields planted by armed groups based in Yayphyu township in Taninthari region.

The Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) denied responsibility for the incidents, despite maintaining forces near where the men detonated the landmines. Intermittently, they’ve clashed over control of the lucrative timber industry in the township. The Burma Army also patrols the area, locals told NMG.

Maung Ah Pai stepped on the landmine at about 8 am while on his way to fix a pipe providing water for villages Myauk Chaw and Kalae. After being sent to Mawlamyine public hospital, medical staff amputated his right leg.

An hour after the first man’s accident, Win Hlaing, on his way to his garden, stepped on the second landmine, losing his left leg

Last month, a man sustained minor injuries after he rode over a landmine on his motorcycle.

There have been at least eight people injured from landmines in Yayphyu township from 2018-19. Some were seriously injured from the explosions.

When working in the fields “we need to be extremely cautious,” Nai Tin San, the village headman for Ahlae Sakhan, where many of the landmine accidents have happened, told NMG. He said they’ve asked the government to do something about it but they’re still waiting for action.

The New Mon State Party, the political wing of the MNLA, and the KNLA have also asked for the government’s help to remove the landmines in Yayphyu township. An NMSP officer told NMG they are also trying to meet with KNLA leaders to discuss a strategy to deal with the problem.