Thousands Affected By Landmines Around Pipelines In Shan State

By Network Media Group
Monday, January 24, 2022

The military has laid many landmines around China’s Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline, endangering the lives of thousands of villagers who live in the area through which the twin pipelines pass in northern Shan State.

According to the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), soldiers began placing the hidden explosive devices near a subordinate centre and along a section of the pipelines near Union Highway in Hsipaw Township last December.

Sai Sam Loi, spokesperson for SHRF, said the junta is worried about People’s Defence Forces and other resistance groups attacking the pipelines. Soldiers from IB 23, LIB 503 and LIB 504 have been sent to guard them.

“In the past, villagers grew rice and vegetables, collected firewood and their animals grazed in the area. But now no one dares to go there after the soldiers laid landmines in the area, affecting agriculture.”

A local source, who doesn’t wish to be named, wants the army to remove their landmines so that the villagers can carry on with their lives. More than 1,800 people from Nawng Lin, Wan Seng, Tin Lon, Nawng Ann and Chaung Chauk in the Chaung Chauk village tract have been affected.

There’s fears the hidden explosive devices will be detonated accidentally and also fighting between the soldiers stationed there and the resistance groups fighting the dictatorship or with each other.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Shan State Progress Party have been fighting with the Restoration Council of Shan State in Hsipaw Township.

According to residents, they heard light and heavy weapons near the sub-control centre and pipelines just over a week ago and some shells landed in the area, without saying which group fired them.