Farmers afraid to attend plantations after man injured from Landmine Blast in Yebyu Township

November 6, 2018

HURFOM: On October 28, a plantation worker was seriously injured by a landmine blast in Kyaung Shar Kwin, Yebyu Township, Tanintharyi Division. Around 100 owners and daily workers are too afraid to attend their nearby farms in case of further blasts. The area is currently under territorial dispute between the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU).

Min Mon Chan, stepped on a landmine at a betel nut plantation near Ah Le Sa Khan village. His right foot was shattered and he was rushed to Mawlamyine hospital. “The doctor from Mawlamyine hospital told us that his right foot would need to be cut off or he would lose his leg”, said the victims his brother Nai Yo who was also concerned about Min Mon Chan’s family and their livelihoods. “He has a 10 month year old and his wife has health problems.”

Furthermore, the relatives of the victim and local farmers are not sure how to proceed with farming in the area. They do not have the equipment or skills required to make the area safe. Authorities have yet inform the farmers of the incident. “No one has informed us about the  landmines and which areas to avoid.” Nai Yo says.

Two people have been injured by landmine blasts in NMSP-KNU disputed-area in Kyaung Shar Kwin, Yebyu Township, within a month. On October 15 an NMSP soldier Mon Chan Naing, age 25, was injured after stepping on a landmine while he was patrolling and his left leg has been amputated from above the ankle at the Bangkok Hospital in Thailand.

There have been reports that the KNU and NMSP have engaged in skirmishes on October 16. As a result villagers are scared to tend to their farms for their livelihood. The following week, the NMSP said they talked with the KNU and informed villagers not to attend their plantations in the area. The Ah Le Sa Khan village administrator (VA) is concerned the landmines have been planted recently by the KNU.

Nai Tin San (VA) reported the blasts to the to the various government administrative departments in Tanintharyi Division on October 29. He explained to HURFOM that

“the government have done nothing about the blasts. We do not understand that why they are quiet. We are considering other avenues if the government departments do not respond.”

Further incidents involved the KNU were reported by the village administrator. On October 8, the KNU physically assaulted three plantation workers with rifle ends and knife blades in Kyaung Shar Kwin. They assaulted the workers and burned their huts. We also have reported to respective government departments about it as well. We have heard nothing from them yet Nai Tun San said.

The NMSP Dawei District Battalion 2 and the KNU Battalion 10 under Brigade 4 have been active in Yebyu Township engaged in skirmishes in Kyaung Shar Kwin area since 2016.





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