Two Kachin internally displaced persons (IDPs) were injured after they stepped on a landmine while trying to reach their farmland in Kachin State’s Mogaung Township on March 5.
The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday near Kasung village, where the IDPs used to live before being forced to flee by armed conflict between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in April 2018.
The survivors, 41-year-old Galau Ze Bawm and 50-year-old Kareng Naw Awn, live in the Kachin Baptist Church and the Roman Catholic Church in Namti respectively. The churches are home to more than 1,000 IDPs from nearly 200 families.
“The area remains restricted. They were going to work on their rotating farms,” pastor Maran Yaw Htung, who is in charge of the Baptist church in Namti, told KNG.
Galau Ze Bawm’s right leg sustained multiple fractures, and he received medical treatment in Myitkyina’s public hospital. Shrapnel hit Kareng Naw Awn’s right thigh—he has received treatment in the Namti public hospital, according to a member of the social volunteer team in the area.
Thomas Nhkang, who is working with a social team in Lambraw Yang village, said that U Galau Ze Bawm’s right leg was broken into pieces and he has received medical treatment in Myitkyina public hospital. A landmine shrapnel hit U Kareng Naw Awn’s right thigh. Then he has received medical treatment in Namti public hospital.
IDPs have begun to return to their land at great risk after eight years of living in makeshift camps, unable to grow their own food.
In late February a parliamentarian for Kachin State’s Shwegu Township asked the state legislature whether the Burma Army would remove landmines in areas where IDPs wished to return to live.
Col Nay Lin Tun, the state’s border affairs minister, said that landmines could be removed “after negotiations” between the KIA and Burma Army, once the KIA had signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. He denied that government forces had planted landmines in civilian areas.
A recently returned IDP to the community of Nam San Yang in Waingmaw Township was injured on February 14 after stepping on a landmine.