Some residents of Kachin State, affected by the war between the regime and resistance forces, have asked for training on how to deal with landmines after at least nine people, including children, were killed this year alone by the explosive devices.
“Some try to pick up an unexploded bomb because they have no training on landmines,” a Waingmaw resident told KNG on condition of anonymity. He said a shell fired by the regime’s Infantry Battalion 58 landed near his chicken farm.
A ten-year-old was killed and two other children were injured after playing with a landmine near the Wu Yang People’s Militia Force camp in Waingmaw Township on 10 January.
In Yay Lae, three civilians were killed on the spot after children found a bomb in the village in Shwegu Township on 19 October.
Two young cattle herders were killed on the spot after the boys played with a leftover bomb by a river near Chaungwa in Katha Township, Sagaing Region.
Since the coup, artillery attacks on civilian areas from military bases have become frequent.
According to residents of Kawng Ra in Kachin State, it’s not uncommon for them to come across unexploded bombs. Bombs were also found in Hpakant, Waingmaw and on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State, as well as in Katha and Indaw townships in Sagaing Region.
A former landmine safety educator from Waingmaw said people need to understand that the leftover explosives are still unsafe and everyone—young and old—needs training about the dangers they pose.
“It’s so difficult to educate them about landmines because the military regime arrests people every time they gather as a group.” Before the coup, he said the government worked with civil society groups to provide education in the internally displaced persons’ camps.
As fighting has increased over the past two years, it has become even more important to protect the community from the dangers of landmines and other explosives in their villages and farms.