On March 10, 2020, two villagers from Ka Lae village, Yar Phu village track, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division lost their legs in two separate landmine explosions.
35-year-old Maung Ah Pine was enroute to repair a damaged water pipeline between Myauk Chaw and Ka Lae villages. On the way, he stepped on a landmine and lost his right leg.
On the same day, while going to his plantation in Ka Lae village, 45-year-old U Win Hline also stepped on a landmine and lost his left leg.
Both victims were admitted to the Ye General Hospital, where the medical staff determined the victims had to undergo leg amputation surgeries, reported the Taw Lawi Administrator, Nai Bnyair.
The public water pipeline near the landmine blast was also destroyed.
Villagers expressed suspicion behind the incident because nearby plantations have been on fire at least 5 times.
“The incidents happened in the Karen (KNU – Karen National Union) controlled area. Nothing happened in our controlled area. We have to increase the number of security forces to control the situation. If we have enough security forces, we can control the situation,” said an official of Dawei District New Mon State Party (NMSP).
The Taw Lawi Administrator, Nai Bnyair added the opinion that only negotiations between the NMSP and the KNU can solve the problem.
Although both parties had decided to meet on March 9 to discuss a February 29 landmine blast, that meeting did not happen due to the absence of the members from the KNU.
“If the problem can’t be solved quickly, villagers will face more problems in the future. The villagers rely on plantation and rubber farming. If they are not allowed to go to their plantation and to protect their plantations from fire, their livelihood can be ended. That’s why both parties must settle the problem quickly,” said the Administrator.
There have been 3 landmine blasts within two weeks in the area with villagers suffering serious injuries.