Eight young Buddhist monks were injured this morning when a landmine exploded while they were playing with it, according to a local aid worker in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme District.
Nang Kham Phong told Shan Herald that the incident occurred within a temple compound in Mong Yen Tract, Namtu Township, at about 10am. She said that eight novice monks were wounded by shrapnel from the blast.
“Six monks were seriously wounded because they were hit on their heads and stomachs. The two other monks sustained injuries to their legs and hands,” she explained. “They were all young novice monks between 10 and 15 years old. They do not know that these were bombs and they were playing with them.”
Nang Kham Phong continued: “Bombs were planted here a long time ago, when the Burmese army set up their camp. They didn’t clear the landmines before they left and no one knows where they are all planted.”
She added the boys were taken immediately to Lashio Hospital, however they did not arrive until 2pm.
Reached for comment, Jarm Hom, an MP from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) representing Namtu Township, confirmed that a landmine blast had wounded eight young novices.
“There were two bombs and they were rusted,” she said. “They were playing them when one exploded.”
On July 7 last year, Shan Herald reported that a villager was killed and another seven seriously injured by a bomb blast in Namtu Township.
Namtu Township has long been a conflict zone between the Burmese armed forces and ethnic armed groups including the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA). The fighting has compelled hundreds, if not thousands, of villagers to flee their homes. According to a report from Shan Herald published in January, some 1,300 civilians remain displaced in six makeshift camps in Namtu Township.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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