Two killed after retreating junta soldiers plant landmines outside homes in Kayah 

Two people died and several were injured last week in explosions from landmines that were planted by junta soldiers in Kayah State’s Demoso Township, local resistance fighters from the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said. 

One of the casualties was a member of the KNDF who was clearing mines in the town of Nan Mei Khon on Friday. Another was a displaced person who was reportedly killed while travelling back to their home in Kone Thar village to get food. 

Two others were reportedly injured in the second blast but Myanmar Now was unable to obtain further details about the victims. 

Junta troops have faced intense resistance from local armed groups in Kayah State. After major clashes on September 24 and 26, members of KNDF said they found a large number of mines in Kone Thar and another village called Thaysule that were planted by retreating soldiers.

“They set up so many landmines,” a KNDF member told Myanmar Now. “We still cannot be sure if all of them are gone even after we’ve cleared many areas.” 

On Saturday, a 40-year-old woman who was returning to her home in Kone Thar after being displaced maimed her leg when she stepped on a mine that soldiers had planted in front of the gate to her house, the KNDF said. 

Last Tuesday, a man maimed his right foot and severely injured his left leg after stepping on a mine while travelling with two other displaced people on his way back to his home in Thaysule.

The KNDF member said his group found around 30 landmines in Kone Thar village alone, adding that it was hard for them to safely clear the mines because they lacked proper equipment. 

“Since there have been occasions where those who came back to their village to get food supplies have triggered landmines, it is definitely still not safe for them to come home,” he said. “We are still working together with experts to clear the landmines but it’s quite hard to do.”

A member of the Demoso People’s Defence Force (PDF) said junta soldiers planted landmines at front gates to people’s homes, on paths to outdoor toilets, and other well trodden areas in a deliberate effort to maim and kill civilians. 

“They’ve become totally mindless now,” he said. “They just want to kill anyone they can, be it the PDF or regular civilians.”

The military retreated from Kone Thar on September 26. The next day a landmine exploded beneath a funeral car carrying the body of a local who had died after being hit by one of the junta’s mortars. The car was damaged in the landmine explosion but nobody was hurt. 

There was also intense fighting last week in Loikaw Township when the KNDF intercepted hundreds of junta soldiers that were travelling from southern Shan State to serve as reinforcements in Demoso. 

The junta troops were forced to retreat on Thursday after three days of fighting. 

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