This Incident Report describes events occurring in Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw (Hpapun) District in September 2021. At 8:15 am on September 11th 2021, a villager living in Ma Htaw village tract stepped on a landmine while he was on his way to buy medicine for the village monks. As a result of the landmine explosion, he suffered wounds on his right foot and chest, and his left foot had to be amputated. Following the incident, his family sent him to Hpa-an hospital for further treatment.
Part 1 – Incident Details
Type of Incident: Landmine explosion
Date of Incident(s): September 11th 2021
Incident Location: (Village, Township and District), A--- village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District
Name: Saw I--- Age: 30
Village: A--- Village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District
Part 2 - Information Quality
1. Explain in detail how you collected this information
Several sources have provided information on this landmine incident via phone call. These sources include witnesses, the mother of the victim and a former KHRG researcher who helped transport the landmine victim following the incident.
The first source witnessed the incident and helped support the victim and transport him from A--- village to O--- village. He also assisted in finding more contacts.
The second source is a villager from A--- village who travelled to the river earlier that day using the same road where Saw I--- stepped on the landmine. He shared the overall situation of the morning’s events.
The third source is the victim’s mother.
The fourth source is a relative of the first source and provided KHRG with photographs of the incident.
The fifth source is a former KHRG researcher who met the victim while the victim was being transported to the State Administration Council (SAC)4 hospital in the Tactical Operations Command (TOC) headquarters located between Hpapun Town and G--- village. He also shared photos documenting the incident with KHRG.
2. Explain how the source verified this information.
The first source was a witness to the incident. The remaining four sources are family members or local villagers who are familiar with either the victim or the situation.
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.
At 8:15 am on September 11th 2021, Saw I---, a 30-year-old villager living in A--- village, Ma Htaw village tract, Dwe Lo Township, Mu Traw District stepped on a landmine and was injured by the explosion. [He sustained injuries to both feet and his chest.] The landmine Saw I---stepped on had been planted in the eastern part of A--- village in front of a Catholic church, where the village road that leads to the river changes from a paved to a dirt road. After the incident, SAC soldiers who are based in the village [battalion number unspecified], brought Saw I--- back to his home, where a SAC army medic amputated his left foot and treated the wounds on his right foot and his chest. Villagers from A--- village and from H--- [a village close by] then sent him to a Karen National Union (KNU)6 medic in H--- village to treat his wounds. After this, he was sent to O--- village to catch the boat running to K’Ma Moh (Ka Ma Maung) Town. His family members wanted to send him to Hpa-an for treatment [K’Ma Moh is on the way to Hpa-an]. But since it was late afternoon [too late to catch the boat], he was sent to Hpapun SAC hospital in the TOC headquarters for one night. On September 12th 2021, he was sent by a boat to travel to K’Ma Moh. He received care from healthcare workers at the SAC hospital in Taungalay, near Hpa-an, and was discharged on September 25th 2021.
As soon as the landmine exploded, the SAC soldiers based in the village ran to the location of the explosion and brought back pieces of the exploded landmine. They then showed these pieces to the village head and claimed that it was not their landmine. The A---village head shared that the SAC had not cared about previous landmine explosions [so villagers found it strange that they seemed to care about this explosion]. Villagers also found it suspicious that the SAC soldiers would bring the pieces of the landmine to the village head and claim it was not their landmine [because SAC soldiers do not normally do this following a landmine explosion]. Before the incident took place, the SAC told villagers to use only the road and not go off the road when they were going out of the village. This led villagers to suspect that it might have been an SAC landmine. Furthermore, according to villagers, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)7 does not usually plant landmines on the road to Yon Sa Lin River, and they [the KNLA] were allowing villagers to use the road every day until the incident happened [i.e., the KNLA had not warned the villagers not to use the road]. Villagers explained that the KNLA usually informs them when it plants landmines and tells them which areas to avoid. However, the A--- village head said that they could not specify which armed group planted the landmine, and KHRG has not received any proof of which group planted the landmine that Saw I--- stepped on.
When the incident happened, Saw I---was on his way to the Yon Sa Lin riverbank to take a boat to K’Ma Moh to buy medicine for the village monks. He often volunteers to help the village monastery. According to one A--- villager who uses the same road where the incident happened, on the morning of the incident, there were other A--- villagers using that road going to the Yon Sa Lin riverbank but none of them stepped on the landmine.
Saw I--- has three siblings, and he is the youngest son in the family. After he was discharged from the hospital on September 25th 2021, he went to stay in W--- village. At present, Saw I---and his family have not received any support.
Part 4 - Permission for Using the Details
Did the victim(s) provide permission to use this information? Explain how that permission was provided.
The sources allowed KHRG to use the provided information.
Further background reading on landmine explosions in Mu Traw District in Southeast Myanmar can be found in the following KHRG reports: