A landmine blast in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme District killed one person and injured seven others, local sources said on Thursday.
Sai Mauk San, a villager living in the area, told DVB that the incident occurred on 6 July as a group of people from several villages in Namtu Township were carrying goods for the Shan State Army-South (SSA-South), an armed group that signed last year’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
“They set off the landmine as they were helping to carry things for the SSA-South. It happened around 8:30am between the villages of Piang Htaung and Narkon, near a railway line. There were 17 people altogether. We heard the blast,” said sai Mauk San.
One person was killed immediately, he said, while three others who were seriously injured were taken to the hospital in Lashio, the largest town in the area. Four others were treated locally.
The person who was killed was identified as 24-year-old Sai Kyaw Thaung, from the village of Nampai. The victims were all men between the ages of 15 and 55, sources said.
It was unknown what kind of landmine it was or which group planted it, but in addition to the SSA-South, two other ethnic armed groups are active in the area — the Shan State Army-North and the Ta’aung National Liberation Army (TNLA), both of which are still actively engaged in hostilities with Burma’s armed forces.
Nang Kham Aye, an MP for Namtu Township from the ruling National League for Democracy, said it wasn’t the first time that villagers had become victims of the conflict in the restive region.
“I was in Rangoon when it happened. People from the area called me and told me about it,” she said.
“I don’t want fighting. Whenever there is fighting, the ones who get hurt are the villagers. So I want the armed groups to negotiate with each other to get solutions.”
There has been no recent fighting around the area where the landmine went off, but the TNLA reported six clashes earlier this week in Mantong Township, north of Namtu.