Residents of Dee Maw Hso Township Remain Displaced as Landmine Threat Persists Despite Junta Troop Absence

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Kantarawaddy Times

It has been reported that since December 2023, the urban areas and villages in Dee Maw Hso Township, Karenni State, have been under the control of the Karenni resistance forces. However, due to the danger of landmines, residents, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have not been able to return to their homes.

In addition to the threat of landmines, a local resident stated that they are afraid to return home due to shelling by Junta base battalions.

“It’s not possible to return home yet because intensive battles are still ongoing in Loikaw. Junta troops (SAC) are still present at the 102nd Infantry Battalion and 427th Infantry Regiment on the outskirts of Dee Maw Hso township. The battles could break out at any time. These battalions are also close to the Pyidaungsu highway, so we are worried that they will shoot us from a distance. Therefore, we are afraid to return home,” said a local from Dee Maw Hso Township.

Since the commencement of Operation 1111 in Loikaw on November 11, 2023, almost all military battalions stationed in Dee Maw Hso township have withdrawn their troops.

Villagers in Dee Maw Hso township have been advised not to return home yet, as the retreating junta troops have reportedly planted numerous landmines in the villages and neighborhoods, they had been based in. Since the SAC could conduct airstrikes at any time, locals are warned not to return home yet, a KNDF spokesperson told Kantarawaddy Times to inform the residents.

“The areas where junta troops were based in Dee Maw Hso Township are not far from the main SAC bases. The troops could shell with heavy weapons. Subsequently, the areas they left could become targets of airstrikes. There could be risks from airstrikes because the places were conflict-affected areas or a war zone. We want to emphasize that it is not yet advisable for people to return home,” the KNDF spokesperson said.

Although residents in Dee Maw Hso have been returning to clean their houses, they have not moved back in yet. Recently, junta troops from the 102nd Infantry Battalion and 427th Infantry Regiment, stationed on the outskirts of Dee Maw Hso, have reportedly been shelling according to local sources.

Among the residents who returned to clean their houses in Dee Maw Hso township, one returnee was killed in an airstrike by a junta aircraft in the first two months of 2024, and another lost a leg after stepping on a landmine.

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