NMSP Demands End to Landmine Usage

The group blames ethnic Karen forces for the placement of explosives that have injured civilians; the KNU denies this.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

The New Mon State Party’s (NMSP) district administration in Dawei, Tanintharyi, released a statement on Thursday condemning the use of landmines in the area.

The statement alleged that an armed group had intentionally placed the explosive devices near streets, gardens and farms in Yephyu Township. This, the NMSP argued, affects their own relationships with locals and causes insecurity in the community, as well as violent accidents.

Yephyu has seen four landmine explosions injuring civilians since October, two in which locals’ legs had to be amputated.

“The KNU [Karen National Union] confessed that the previous landmines were their landmines. They agreed to remove these landmines,” Maj Nyan Tun, NMSP’s secretary of the Dawei District administration, told NMG. “Even though they removed the landmines, some are still left in the ground,” he added.

The territory where landmine accidents are occurring is an area claimed by both the NMSP and KNU; both armed forces have been stationed in the area in the past.

Township level KNU and NMSP officers met in Wei Zin village again on Thursday. According to Maj Nyan Tun, NSMP reportedly demanded that the KNU remove all landmines that had been set up in the area, and to take responsibility for any accidents involving these landmines.

The KNU’s Dawei District secretary Padoh El Ner denied that the landmines in question were set up by the KNU and say that their forces do not patrol the area.

The two armed groups have had confrontations related to timber harvesting and production in the area, with clashes in the Kyaung Shar Kwin area and near Ahlae Sakhan village in Yephyu.

After the clashes, the KNU’s Duplaya District chairperson and the NMSP’s Dawei District chairperson met in Ye town on October 23 and agreed to not damage the good relations between the two armed organizations.