FREE BURMA RANGER REPORT: Villager Blinded by Landmine in Toungoo District, Karen State




Karen State, Burma

In This Report

Villager Blinded by Landmine in Toungoo District, Karen State
Burma Army captures four villagers in Nyaunglebin District.
Burma Army and DKBA continue programs of forced labor and extortion in Nyaunglebin and Thaton Districts.
Interview of escaped prisoner porter: “[The] two commanders would hit me with bamboo on my back, thigh and calf.”

Villager blinded by landmine intended to protect against attack
On March 21, Saw Da Maung Htoo, 22, was searching for vegetables in an area of Toungoo District, northern Karen state where Burma Army troops were patrolling, and where, unknown to him, the local resistance had laid landmines to keep Burma Army troops from reaching a nearby group of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The landmine exploded in his face, severely injuring his right hand and blinding him. Some villagers and the resistance groups who try to protect them, resort to the use of home-made landmines in order to guard against attack. The frequency of these attacks, the limited ability of villagers to defend themselves, and the overwhelming firepower of the Burma Army have caused them to adopt this tactic. While these mines are intended to be a defense against attacking Burma Army troops, and are often finite-lifespan mines, made from bamboo, AA batteries, and other easy-to-find materials, they are nonetheless destructive when triggered. Despite efforts of the resistance to inform all locals of areas that are off-limits because of mines, villagers often live in remote locations and information is sometimes slow to arrive. People must also search wide areas of land to find sufficient food, and during this movement they sometimes fall victim to mines laid by the resistance or other villagers.

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