Myanmar

Mu Traw District Incident Report: A 10-year-old boy was injured after stepping on a tripwire that detonated a landmine in Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District, June 2021

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This Incident Report describes events that occurred in Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw (Hpapun) District in June 2021. On June 29th 2021, a 10-year-old boy from H--- village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District stepped on a tripwire that detonated a landmine at a place between T--- and K--- villages, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District. As a result of the explosion, he sustained injuries to his face, chin/neck, leg and belly but not serious enough to require surgical intervention. With the father of the victim already deceased, the mother is caring for 10 children on her own, thus the family is facing difficulties and is in need of support.

Part 1 – Incident Details

Type of Incident: Landmine explosion

Date of Incident(s): June 29th 2021

Incident Location (Village, Township and District): A place between T--- and K--- villages, Ma Htaw village tract,[2] Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District

Victim Information

Name: Saw[3] W---

Age: 10

Sex: Male

Nationality: Karen

Family: N/A

Occupation: N/A

Religion: Buddhist

Position: N/A

Village: H--- village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District

Part 2 - Information Quality

  1. Explain in detail how you collected this information.

The information has been provided by the victim’s brother.

  1. Explain how the source verified this information.

The source is the victim’s brother.

Part 3 – Complete Description of the Incident

Describe the Incident(s) in complete detail. For each incident, be sure to include 1) when the incident happened, 2) where it happened, 3) what happened, 4) how it happened, 5) who was involved, and 6) why it happened. Also describe any villager response(s) to the incident, the aftermath and the current living situation of the victims. Please use the space prepared below, and create an attachment if needed.

On June 29th 2021, at 2:30 pm, a villager named Saw W---, 10 years old, from H--- village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District, stepped on a tripwire that detonated a landmine while he was returning home from [nearby] T--- village, where he had gone to retrieve a box that contained clothes and books. Before the incident, they [villagers] were informed by the local authorities that there is landmine contamination [in the area]. They were told to remain on the road and not to [wander into] areas in the vicinity of the road. On that day, Saw W---and his brother went to get a box [of clothes and books] from T--- village. When they were returning home, they [realised that they] forgot a shirt at T--- village. They decided to hide the box somewhere in the bushes, because they were afraid someone would steal it, and went [returned to T--- village] to get the shirt.

Upon returning to the place where the box was hidden, Saw W---’s brother asked Saw W---to go and get the box. It was at that point in time when he stepped on the [tripwire that detonated a] landmine. It was at a place between T--- and K--- villages, Ma Htaw village tract. Due to the explosion of the landmine, Saw W--- sustained injuries to his face, chin/neck, leg and belly. The injuries were not serious enough to require surgical intervention. After the incident, he was sent to the State Administration Council (SAC) military’s[4] Tactical Battalion #340 hospital situated in Hpapun Town to receive treatment. The medical staff was able to remove all of the shrapnel that hit his body. He is still recovering in the hospital.

According the victim’s brother, these landmines were planted since May 2021 by the local Ethnic Armed Organisations. Even though Mine Risk Awareness training was provided to the villagers last year, the family of the landmine victim was not able to attend that training; they only received pamphlets containing landmine awareness information. No one has previously been injured due to landmine explosions in H--- village, and this was the first time that any landmine has exploded in [or near] the village. The local authorities have warned villagers not to go to places where there is landmine contamination. However, landmines have been planted near the road and surrounding areas and thus pose serious danger to local villagers. Furthermore, there are no signs indicating where landmines have been planted in the vicinity of the village.

At the time of reporting, Saw W--- was still recovering in the hospital. Since no support had been provided to him from any local organisations, DanChurchAid (DCA), through the assistance of KHRG, helped the victim by sending 500,000 kyats [USD 280.55][5] to the family for his medical costs.

The family of the landmine victim relies on farming for their livelihood. Farming has been difficult due to heavy droughts over the past few years. Some villagers still go and work in their hill fields but they have to be careful of landmines. After the father passed away a few years ago, the mother has struggled to provide for her family. She is taking care of 10 children on her own. Saw W--- attended only up to Grade 2. Because his mother has to struggle to take care of the family’s needs, she is not able to keep all of her children in school.

Update from July 29th 2021: Saw W--- was discharged from the hospital on July 27th 2021. His injuries have not fully healed. The hospital provided him medicine but did not require him to go back to the hospital for any follow‑up. It cost the family over 400,000 kyats [USD 224.39] in total for Saw W---’s medical care at the hospital.