Kokang boy, 10, dies from landmine blast

Kokang boy, 10, dies from landmine blast

A 10-year-old child has reportedly died after stepping on a landmine in Laogai [Laukkai] where fighting continues between Burmese government forces and Kokang rebels.

The boy was collecting firewood near his house in the village of Chahaw on the morning of 15 February when he stepped on a mine and had his leg blown off, according to the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) spokesperson Tun Myat Linn. The child was rushed across the nearby Chinese border to a hospital in Nansan but died from blood loss, he said, adding that the boy was ethnic Kokang.

According to the MNDAA, around 100 civilians have been killed in the conflict with government forces since hostilities erupted on 9 February.

The MNDAA has accused the Burmese army and paramilitary units of massacring unarmed civilians.

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Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Wednesday that it had seen pictures of voluntary workers in rubber gloves disposing of large numbers of dead bodies in civilian clothes, some with their hands bound, and others with missing limbs. The photographs are alleged to have come from a Kokang town, though the exact location was undisclosed.

A Burmese military spokesman on Saturday estimated that more than 100 soldiers on both sides had also perished in the conflict.

The main Kokang town of Laogai is all but a ghost town as residents have fled either to Lashio or to shelters in Nansan. Laogai Township has an official population of 95,000. Aid workers on the Chinese side of the border estimate that at least 30,000 Kokang evacuees are currently taking refuge on Chinese soil, mostly at the 125 makeshift shelters set up by local NGOs and Chinese authorities.

The Burmese government has declared a state of emergency and handed authority to the military under martial law provisions. Both sides are refusing to negotiate terms to end the fighting.

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