Kachin farmers are concerned for their safety after the Burma Army planted many landmines around where they live and work without informing them.
Residents from Dawt Hpong Yang near the Bhamo to Laiza Road are afraid to cultivate their farms because soldiers have hidden many explosives around their town in Kachin State. A resident said if they go to their farms, they will step on a landmine, explaining it happened to some farmers recently.
On June 15, a couple from Kagam ward 3 stepped on a landmine when returning from their farm in Thali Kon. The blast caused serious injuries to the woman’s legs while her husband escaped the incident unscathed.
Soldiers never tell villagers when they plant explosives around their villages. Landmines are controversial because they kill people indiscriminately. In many countries around the world, they have been banned for decades. In Burma, however, landmines are widely used by the military and the many ethnic armed groups in the country.
Burma Army IB-142 is based near Dawt Hpong Yang. Recently, it sent many troops from Bhamo, Myo Thit and Nom Lang to its base, which is located close to Alaw Bum and Laiza, the headquarters for Kachin Independence Organisation/Army (KIO/A).
KIO/A seized Alaw Bum from the Burma Army on March 25 because of the mountain’s strategic location. The military has incurred heavy casualties attempting to recapture it from the Kachin soldiers.