Coup forces civilians to become victims to landmine explosions

December 12, 2023

HURFOM: Since the attempted coup on February 1, 2021, the use of landmines has re-emerged across Burma. Communities that never experienced the consequences of landmine explosions are now enduring casualties, injuries and disabilities.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) reports there has been an increased use of anti personnel landmines across Burma.

Throughout 2023 there has been intense military tensions,  frequent armed clashes, and landmine explosions have taken place very often.

In Mon State, within 11 months, from January to November, 2023, a landmine explosion took place 19 times killing 4 civilians and injuring another 24.

Why do landmine explosions take place very often?

Armed clashes between the military junta and the revolutionary forces occur often, leaving civilians to suffer the consequences. The worst repercussion is a landmine explosion.

According to the reports by international watch groups, it is not only the military junta but also revolutionary forces who have been using landmines.

Recently, on November 5th, 2023, three 13-year-old boys from Kin Moon Chone village, Moe Kaung village tract, Thaton Township, Mon State stepped on a landmine while going to cut grass to feed cattle. All three boys died.

On November 7th and 11th, 2023, landmine explosions took place at the “Shwe Phyu” rubber plantation owned by the Thaton Township Prison Department, severely injuring an 18-year-old male, and a 50-year-old man.

The doctor said his right leg must be amputated. If the injury is getting worse, his left leg will also be amputated. We worry a lot about landmines here but have to experience the bad event,” said a source close to a landmine victim from Ka Nyin village, Kyike Hto Township.

Landmine explosions have taken place very often in Bilin, Kyike Hto, Thaton and Ye Townships where there has been intense fighting between the military junta and revolutionary forces.

From January to November, 2023, landmine explosions took place five times in Ye Township, five times in Kyie Hto, three times in Thaton and twice in Bilin.

Those killed and injured have included women and children.

We’ve learned that four children were killed by a landmine in Thaton. They stepped on landmines while they fed cattle and cut grass for cattle,” said a resident from Thaton District.

Civilians are living with the constant threat of landmine explosions

Landmine explosions frequently occur alongside public roads, farms, plantations, forest areas where villagers collect seasonal vegetables,  and in areas near military bases and where armed groups are active.

The reckless use of landmines make villagers frightened to go to their farms and plantations.

The area around “Bay Ka Hwelve” Suspension Bridge is the area where there is a military base. The PDF is frequently active in this area. Local residents have to use the road near the area to go to plantations and other villages,” said a resident from Maw Ka Nin village, Ye Township, Mon State.

Local villagers struggling to make a livelihood must deal with the constant threat of landmine explosion. Those who suffer serious injuries are unable to do work,  to feed their family members. Some villagers have abandoned their workplaces due to frequent landmine explosions.

Most villagers think the military junta has planted the landmine. We have experienced these explosions only since the attempted coup. Now, we dare not to go to our plantation,” said a villager from Bay Ka Hwelve village, Lamine Sub-township, Ye Township.

Villagers hope for a solution which threatens their lives and jobs.

We want the landmines to be removed. Now, explosions take place at places which have never experienced landmine explosions,” said one victim.

No responsibility for landmine explosion

According to UNICEF, the number of casualties, injuries and disabilities by landmine and explosive materials was 37% higher in 2022 than in 2021.

Even though casualties and injuries of innocent civilians by landmine explosions are high, the military junta denies responsibility and revolutionary forces accuse the junta.  Both parties are known to be active in areas where land mine explosions occur, often leaving civilians to suffer. 


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