Burma Myanmar Government uses prisoners to clear mines

Government troops used prisoners to clear landmines during a battle on November 14th in Hpakant, Kachin State, according to an officer from KIA Brigade 2. “We planted mines to fight off the government troops that were coming from Myikyina to Hpakant and Lonkin village. The soldiers use the prisoners as porters, to carry their weapons, but the soldiers must have known we planted the mines along the motorway because they sent prisoners in ahead of them to set off the mines. We planted them in the exit way of Hpakant and Moe Gaung with a plan to attack five military trucks, but we didn’t know prisoners where inside the trucks, we thought they were soldiers,” he said.

Two prisoners died and fourteen were injured from the landmines, according to Myanmar Alin Newspaper.

On the same day, thirty-five government military tanks arrived on a crossroad at Moe Gaung in the village of Eight Mines. The government troops, Infantry Battalion (IB) 89, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 386 and 260, under the division 88, fought with KIA in the areas of Nanshan, Lagardyan, Gamatet, and Dike villages.


Using prisoners as porters is a violation of the “Supplementary Understanding” with the International Labor Organization (ILO), which aims to end forced labor and underage recruitment by 2015. The agreement between the Myanmar government and ILO approved steps to identify child soldiers in prison and to inspect certain constitutionally-authorized local militias.

The tactic of using prisoners in the frontlines to clear landmines is nothing new for Myanmar, it dates back to their communist party era and still continues today.



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