Eight Landmine Explosions Hit Taninthary’s Yephyu Township In A Year


Thursday, October 17, 2019

At least eight landmines have exploded around Ahlae Sakhan village in Tanintharyi Region’s Yephyu Township since October 2018.

Most recently, a mine went off on an areca palm farm near the community on October 8. Local man Nai Chan Mon suffered injuries to his legs in the incident.

Nai Tin Sakhan, the village headman of Ahlae Sakhan, said the mine was “hand-made” and exploded in the evening.

The landmines that have gone off were planted on farms and near the road. While there have been no casualties, some people have lost limbs in the incidents.

“There were no landmine explosions in our area in the past. We have faced landmines going off frequently in this area since 2018,” Aung, who lives in Yephyu, told NMG. “We are farmers. Our people frequently step on landmines when they go to their farms. We are so afraid of landmine explosions. But even though we are in fear, we have to go to work on our farms,” he explained.

Control of the area has been disputed by the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU), but both groups deny planting mines there.

Nai Aung Mangae, the deputy in-charge of the NMSP’s central political department, said that his organization has already reported the landmine issue in Ahlae Sakhan to the government and asked that they resolve it. They have also negotiated with the KNU about it.

NMSP’s Battalion 2 and the KNU’s Battalion 10 under Brigade 4 have been active in Yephyu Township. KNU forces have reportedly processed timber in the area.

The NMSP and KNU forces have engaged in at least six clashes in the disputed area between 2016 and 2017.