Ywathit Residents Fear Landmines After SAC Withdrawal

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Residents haven’t returned home to Ywathit, even after troops from the State Administration Council (SAC), who occupied the town in Bawlakhe District for months, were forced out. They fear that the soldiers left many hidden landmines scattered around their camp and in the outlying areas leading to the town in Karenni State.

According to Col Phone Naing, adjutant general for the Karenni Army, SAC’s LIB-515 (under MOC-2) retreated to Bawlakhe town on November 11.

During the occupation that started last June, at least 500 people were trapped in Ywathit and forced to stay in four Buddhist monasteries by SAC soldiers, who used them as human shields to prevent Karenni forces from attacking the town.

The soldiers shot and killed at least six people who tried to leave the monasteries to work in their farms or escape from captivity. Another woman died when she didn’t receive medical care, and an elderly person died too while the regime soldiers were present. Now that the army have left, residents can begin farming again, a man told Kantarawaddy Times, but they currently have no rice or very little other food to eat.

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