Three landmine blasts injure one, damage property, and livestock in Yebyu Township

January 16, 2019

HURFOM: One woman was injured, a buffalo was wounded, and two motorbikes sustained damage due to three successive landmine blasts on January 7th 2019, in Seit Pyo Yae village, Yabu village tract, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Region.

The blasts, striking at 9 am, 10 am, and 12 pm, respectively, occurred along a heavily-trafficked road leading to a nearby plantation where many villagers work.

Once we researched these landmine blasts, we didn’t find anyone else who died…As well, the landmines were not really strong. As we understand, these landmines are not like the landmines that the military use.  We think that the landmine blasts here and the blasts from the Kyaung Shar Kwin area are associated,” said U Khin Maung Oo, the village administrator of Yabu village.

The blasts struck near the Karen National Liberation Army Battalion 10, under Brigade 4, in an area where some 40 Mon families work on the area’s plantations.

According to Ashin KuSaLa from Thihayarma monestary, “We don’t know who did it. It would be great if both groups [Karen National Union (KNU) and New Mon State Party (NMSP)] who are active in this area meet to negotiate, and resolve this issue…Currently, the villagers are afraid to attend their plantations.

The NMSP spokesperson for Yabu village tract Nai Shwe Pyine stated, “We have reported the blasts to various government administrative departments in Dawei. On January 8th, we met with the KNU Liaison Officer for Dawei to talk about the problem because we are concerned about potential ethnic problems [between Mon and Karen communities] in the future.

Between October and November 2018, four landmine blasts were reported in the Kyaung Shar Kwin area, A Lae Sakhan village, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division, which is a mixed-controlled area between the NMSP and the KNU. In response to these blasts, the Dawei District NMSP released a statement to condemn what they believed was the intentional targeting of civilian populations through the use of landmines, seeing it as a strategy to both drive Mon plantation owners from the region and foster mistrust between the people and the NMSP.

Soon after the above statement was released, the Dooplaya District Chairman from the KNU and the Dawei District Chairman from the NMSP met in Ye Township to discuss the statement and negotiated to prevent such incidents from reoccurring. Despite these efforts, five days after their meeting, on October 28th 2018, a 30-year-old Han Gam resident named Min Mon Chan was injured by a landmine.

As with the four blasts that occurred between October and November 2018, it remains unclear who planted the landmines in Seit Pyo Yae village.

Burma is one of few remaining countries that has yet to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, a global effort to end the suffering caused by landmines. Because of the treaty’s widespread adoption, it has become an international norm that all countries refrain from using landmines, and many non-signatory states operate in compliance with the treaty. According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), as of 2017 Burma ranks seventh in the world and third in the east and south Asia and the Pacific region for the  highest number of landmine casualties, with 202 lives lost in 2017 alone. In contravention of international norms, the ICBL documented both the Tatmadaw and various ethnic armed organizations as having used landmines in 2017.




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