(6 April 2023 update from December 2022 and March 2023)
From atleast early October to early November 2022, new antipersonnel landmines were laid along the Bangladesh-Myanmar/Burma border by the Myanmar Armed Forces, and within Maungdaw by the Arakan Army. Mine Free Myanmar has learned that the new mines were laid on the in-country side of the border fence constructed by Myanmar in the area between border pillars 35-52.
Mines were previously documented as having been laid along the inside sections of the border fence during the massive flight of Rohingya in 2017. See Landmine Monitor 2017 and 2018, both Bangladesh and Myanmar/Burma profiles.
This led to a significant increase compared to the previous two years with several new mine victims in the late months of 2022 and early 2023.
On 4 April 2023 a Bangladeshi man from Chakdala, Naikongchari stepped on a mine in the vicinity of border pillar 42 which is also near Myanmar Border Guard Police camp 6. The victim was taken to Cox’s Bazar hospital where his left leg amputated.
On 25th February 2023, a 25 year old Bangladeshi national was trafficking stolen cattle across the border near the border Pillar No 44/45 in Bauk Shu Hpweit village tract of Maungdaw Township of Rakhine State into Naikhongchhari region of Bangladesh and was subsequently treated at Cox’s Bazar hospital. Four days earlier, on 21 February 2023, another man trading cattle across the border near the same spot was also injured by a landmine and underwent treatment at Cox’s Bazar hospital.
On 2 February 2023 a boy of 10 or 11 was killed by a mine laid near a bunker outside a police post in the northwest corner of Maundaw Township in Kha Muang Seik village about 2 kilometers from the border with Bangladesh. Villagers noted that armed conflict between the Arakan Army and Myanmar Armed Forces had occurred near that police station some months previously.
On 26 January 2023 one child was killed and three children were injured near the border with Bangladesh in adjacent Buthidaung Township. The children had gone to a mountain to cut wood and the injured have been taken to an Arakan Army run clinic. The mountain had been the site of armed conflict between the Arakan Army and Myanmar Armed Forces in previous months.
On 7 November a Bangladeshi cattle trader engaged in cross-border cattle trading stepped on a mine near the area of border pillar 46. He was rescued by locals and taken to Cox’s Bazar hospital, but subsequently sent to Chittagong for treatment.
Earlier on 13 October, a Rohingya woman and her infant son were injured by the blast from a tripwire mine placed along the exterior fence of Myanmar Armed Forces Mobile Operations Command camp 9 in Pa Laung, Kyauktaw. The victim was a their dwelling but it was within 3 meters of the boundary of MOC 9. The person was saying their evening prayers when the explosion occurred, it is uncertain what caused the mine to explode. This incident took place near, but not on, the border.
Not on the border but in Maungdaw township, on 7 October a resident of Taung Rowa in GudarPyin village tract lost both legs to a landmine laid in his courtyard by the Arakan Army (AA). The person, a Rohingya, had fled their village at the start of armed conflict, but returned once the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) pushed the AA out. When they went back after the fighting to check on their home they stepped on the landmine and were subsequently treated for their injury at the MAF field hospital in the northern part of the village tract.
On the border, on 2 October, a youth stepped on a landmine after crossing the border near Duchari and died as a result of his injuries. On 16 September 2022 another mine incident involving tending of cows across border occurred. The person lost their livestock and were taken to the Kutupalong MSF Hospital for treatment.
The border fence is regularly cut by smugglers. Rebel groups also cut the fence for their transit. When discovered by Myanmar Armed Forces these areas may have more mines laid at them. Mines have also been allegedly used in northern Rakhine State during inter-group conflict between the Arakan Army and the Bangladeshi based, recently re-invigorated, Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO).
Sources and further information
A young man was injured in a mine explosion at the Naikshyongchari border, Jagonews24, 25 February 2023 (News report in Bengali)
Bangladeshi injured in Myanmar landmine explosion, Dhaka Tribune 21 February 2023
Bangladeshi injured in Myanmar landmine blast along Bandarban border, The Daily Star, 9 November 2022
Maungdaw Twsp boy killed in landmine blast, Development Media Group, 3 February 2023.
Landmine explosion in Rohingya village; Rohingya man receives serious injury, Rohingya Korbor, 8 October 2022
Rohingya teen dies in mine explosion in Myanmar border, New Age Bangladesh, 3 October 2022
Bangladeshi injured in landmine explosion near Myanmar border, Dhaka Tribune 16 September 2022