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Landmine kills Thai boy on Myanmar border

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WRITER: ASSAWIN PINITWONG

TAK: An 8-year-old Thai boy was killed and a 13-year-old from Myanmar badly injured after they stepped on landmines while picking wild mushrooms inside Myanmar territory on Saturday morning.

The incident occurred in the border area opposite Phop Phra district of the northern province of Tak. The mines are believed to have been planted by the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) in a buffer zone.

Police said the boys were part of a group of about 12 people who had crossed the border via a natural pass to collect wild mushrooms that could fetch higher prices. They were said to have walked about 20km from the border to a village in Myawaddy province.

After the incident, the two boys were transported by a farm truck to the Thai border and then rushed to the Phop Phra Hospital. Pollawat Chomsaengthadam, 8, of Mae Hokhu village in Phop Phra, sustained shrapnel wounds to his face and body and died shortly afterward. The 13-year-old from Myanmar, whose name was not released, sustained head injuries and wounds to his feet and legs.

Officials had warned local residents not to cross the border into forest areas as there were landmines in the area, Khaosod reported.

The Karen insurgency for which the border area has been known was part of a conflict that dates back to 1948. The DKBA was an insurgent group of Buddhist soldiers who split from the predominantly Christian-led Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in 1994.

The DKBA, the KNLA and the Karen National Union signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2015 and an uneasy peace has prevailed in the region since then. However, smaller splinter groups have mounted occasional challenges.

Bangkok Post
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