Myo Thiri Kyaw | DMG
17 February, Sittwe
Landmine risk education is to be provided in six Arakan State townships where the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army have continued to clash in recent months, according to the Rakhine Ethnics Congress, which will implement the program.
REC Chair U Shwe Baw Sein said the landmine risk public awareness campaign would be provided to civilians in Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships from February to November. Follow-up training will focus on reducing collateral damage from landmines and other explosive ordnance.
“As you all know, hostilities are escalating in Arakan State. The death toll is increasing day by day,” U Shwe Baw Sein said. “Meanwhile, villagers who are not aware of landmine and explosive devices are facing the risk of [encountering] landmines while working in the forest. So, undesirable losses are increasing. That’s why we have planned to provide landmine risk education.”
An event introducing the landmine risk reduction program was held in Sittwe on February 16, with the Arakan State Hluttaw speaker and officials from governmental departments attending.
Fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army has resulted in more than 130 civilians killed and over 360 injured by artillery shells, landmines and gunfire, according to the Arakan Students’ Union (Universities in Yangon).