Myanmar, bomb explosion in Saparthar village of Minbya

An old unexploded ordnance An old unexploded ordnance Photo by GrashAlex on iStock

19 January 2021

The explosion of an ordnance caused the death of a woman and the injury of five children in Minbya, Myanmar

On 10 January, an unexploded bomb was accidentally detonated by the inhabitants of Saparhtar village, northeast of Minbya Town, Rakhine State. The bomb was found by a 16-year-old boy, who took it back to the village; here, it exploded as soon as one of the villagers hit it with a piece of wood, killing 41-year-old Hla Than Wai and seriously injuring nine other people, including five children.

UNICEF Myanmar reports that more than one third of the casualties from landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) explosions in Myanmar are children, with Rakhine State being the State with the highest rate of reported child casualties. The State saw an escalation of fighting in the first six months after the imposition of Covid-19 restrictions, causing the killing of 215 civilians.

The internal conflict in Myanmar is a long-lasting one, one which goes on from the year of its independence from the United Kingdom, in 1948. Today, the main hostilities take place between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army and Saparhtar was the site of intense fighting in June 2019. Despite a recent pause in clashes, landmines and unexploded ordnance continue to threaten  local people. Indeed, the explosion is the second incident in a week in the village.

In order to guarantee the right to life and to protection of the children who find themselves living in conflict-affected areas, UNICEF urges the parties to stop laying those ordnances. It also urges the Government of Myanmar to provide children and other community members with emergency Mine Risk Education activities. This way, they could have the support and education they need to limit the harm caused  by the enduring war.

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Laura De Pascale; Editor: Catherine Meunier

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