Paletwa Villager in Critical Condition after Stepping on Landmine

(Paletwa – 5th Nov, 2018):

On 29th October 2018, U Huai Thang (35) stepped on a landmine and is in a critical condition. U Huai Thang is a local man from Yat Chaung village, Paletwa Township. According to U Kyaw Aung, the Secretary of the Relief Committee in Paletwa Town, (locally ran committee mostly made up of youth from Paletwa), U Huai Thang and five others left the village on 23rd October for a foraging excursion in the forests surrounding the village. It was on the return journey to their village, at approximately 11 am when the incident took place.

U Huai Thang was the only person to suffer injuries in the blast. Four of the group rushed to get help, reaching the village at approximately 4 pm. A group of villagers then returned with a stretcher and carried the victim for whole night, reaching the general hospital at Paletwa Town at around 5am.

"He is in a very critical condition now, his face is black and blue, the fingers on his left hand are injured, he lost four teeth and his calf muscle was severed in the blast. We are now planning to transfer him to Sittwe as he couldn't get proper treatment in Paletwa. We are hiring a car and we hope to get Sittwe today" said one local villager, U Ai Khin.

According to U Ai Khin, the medical treatment has left U Huai Thang with financial difficulties. Despite some financial assistance from humanitarian organizations in Paletwa, the father of 6 still struggles, given the medical costs. Yat Chaung Village is situated on a mountain slope, between the western side of the Kaladan River and Pichaung area. Both the Arakan Army (AA) and Myanmar Army are stationed in the area. The villagers claim that the Myanmar Army would have let the villagers know if landmines were planted near the village, and it is thus assumed that the landmine was laid by AA forces.

A similar incident happened on 20th September 2018 when a woman and her five friends were looking for Wa-uh (Elephant Foot Yam) near Nga Tain village. A woman called Daw Phit Lite was killed after stepping on a landmine near the village, 35 miles distance from Paletwa Town. One of her friends, who is 18-years-old, was also severely injured as a result of the explosion and is in a critical condition.

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