Two people – a Burmese army officer and a firefighter – were reported injured after a landmine exploded on Thursday in northern Shan State’s Muse Township, an important border crossing for trade between Burma and China.
Sai Hin Lek, a local resident in Muse, said that the incident took place in Bok Mai, Jelant tract, as a bomb disposal team from Burmese Army Division 33 was working on a landmine clearance program.
The ordnance devices were found by local villagers who had gone to hunt for wild food in the forest near Bok Mai, he said. They then informed the village headman, who reported it to the local military unit.
“Two people got injured – a Burmese army officer and a firefighter – and a truck was slightly damaged,” he said. “Fireman Sai Yi Song Kham was wounded on his right leg.
“Five mines exploded while the bomb disposal team were trying to clear them,” he said. “Another one went off this morning.”
He added that, to date, the soldiers had only been able to remove three devices.
Locals in the area say they suspect the mines were remote-controlled devices.
At the time of reporting, no further information had been provided by local authorities about the blast.
Last year, The Myanmar Times reported that on 24 August 2015 an individual on a motorbike threw a bomb at a local bank in Muse Township. Local ethnic armed groups were accused of involvement.
According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a non-governmental organization active in some 100 countries around the globe, Burma is the third-worst country in the world for annual landmine casualties.
Between 1999 and the end of 2014, landmines had affected 3,745 people: 396 killed; 3,145 injured; and 204 unknown, according to an ICBL report on 25 November 2015.However, it noted that the real figure could be much higher.
The ICBL said that state-owned Myanmar Defence Products Industries still produces landmines at a facility in Nyaung Chay Dauk, Bago Region.
Several ethnic armed groups are also believed to still produce or use landmines.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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