Monday, 18 November 2019

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Kachin group gives funds to mine victims’ families

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The main Kachin armed ethnic group under ceasefire has donated money to the families of victims of a deadly landmine blast in the northern Burmese state, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) said.

The KIO provided financial support to the families of the two dead and one injured victims when the mine exploded last Wednesday in Pinkyaing village, part of the Pinball village tract of Mogaung Township, Kachin State, KIO joint secretary Colonel Sin Wah said.

“We ordered two KIO officers to go to the scene of the blast and investigate the case yesterday. We provided financial support to the villagers. In fact, we had already told the villagers that there were landmines in the area,” Sin Wah said today.

As five villagers climbed Nwalabo Hill in Kachin Special Region Two, an area controlled by the KIO from Laiza, one stepped on a landmine. Aung Kyaw Thein and Myint Pe died in the blast and Win Bo was injured, he said. 

Captain Khaung Lwan from the group’s Mogaung liaison office and Captain Zaw Gam from Myitkyina District liaison office gave 1.5 million kyat (about US$1,500) to the families of the deceased victims. Win Bo’s family received 700,000 kyat and the remaining companions received 50,000 kyat.

The mine was triggered in an area controlled by the 11th battalion of the KIO’s armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), where fierce clashes had taken place between junta troops and the Kachin freedom fighters before the ceasefire agreement was signed in 1994.

On Sunday, the KIO released a statement that they had no intention to hurt civilians. It also warned the public of more mines in the area. The group said it had planted more mines as a result of increased tensions between it and the junta over its refusal to bring its troops under Burmese Army command within a Border Guard Force (BGF).

The state mouthpiece newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, reported on Friday that five villagers had been caught in the blast from a mine planted by KIA “insurgents”.

This was the first time the junta had used the word “insurgent” to describe the ethnic Kachin’s 8,000-strong army since the group signed a ceasefire agreement with the junta that ended a decades-long struggle against Burma’s military dictatorship.


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