Loikaw Woman Injured by Landmine After Returning Home

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By Kantarawaddy Times

A woman has been injured after stepping on a concealed landmine while returning to Loikaw. A man explained that although fighting has been reduced to sporadic clashes between resistance forces and the Burma army, many of whom have been forced from the capital of Karenni State after the former launched its 1111 Operation last year, there are still many leftover landmines, presenting dangers for returning residents.

Like everyone else who has been displaced by the violence, he wants to return home, but it’s just not yet safe. “Local people are really eager to see their homes again. I feel so sorry for the victims of the recent landmine accidents. Despite sharing a great desire to also return home, I am afraid to do so.”

Hundreds of anti-personnel mines remain buried in areas around houses in Min Su Ward, where the 30-year-old victim lost her right leg below the knee while clearing debris from her house on May 13. The woman had returned from Shwe Nyaung in southern Shan State, where many people are sheltering from the conflict.

The man said landmines also litter the Loikaw Public Hospital, the Buddhist Literature Learning Centre, and around the Fusel football grounds.

Most of Loikaw’s 50,000 plus residents left the town after a coalition of resistance forces attacked the Military Council on November 11. These forces now control most of the capital, but there are still pockets of Burma army remaining and many landmines scattered across the town, which have killed and maimed both civilians and soldiers alike.

Landmines also poise dangers in other areas of Karenni State. A woman was killed by a concealed landmine in eastern Demoso Township while she was looking for wild vegetables in the jungle on May 11. Several other people were recently killed by a landmine in a village.

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