Conflicts & War

Landmine blast kills 3 civilians in restive western Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- Three civilians have been killed and six wounded by a landmine explosion in the conflict-ridden western state of Rakhine in Myanmar, the military said on Wednesday.

The blast took place on Tuesday in Maungdaw, near the border with Bangladesh, when a vehicle carrying nine people triggered the mine.

The driver, a woman, and a child died in the explosion in the restive state, also called Arakan.

The military blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) rebel group for the blast, without providing any proof.

The security forces have not arrested any suspect.

Myanmar military blamed the ARSA for a series of attacks in Rakhine in 2017, following which the army launched a brutal campaign that led to a massive Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.

Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh refugee camps after they escaped the wave of persecution and violence that the United Nations has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The Rohingyas are a mainly Muslim minority. The Myanmar government has denied them citizenship since the 1990s.

They have faced long-standing official discrimination as they are considered illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, despite having lived in Myanmar for generations.

The 2017 military offensive, which has led to criminal cases against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice, almost eliminated the ARSA.

However, there have still been some sporadic clashes between the rebels and the army.

Over the past two years, Rakhine has witnessed a growing conflict between the armed forces and the Arakan Army, an ethnic-nationalist militant group fighting for the autonomy of the state’s predominantly Buddhist majority.

The clashes with the Arakan Army led to the cancellation of the Nov 7 general elections in northern Rakhine and some other areas in the center and south of the state.

The army and the rebels have extensively used anti-person mines in Myanmar.

The country is not a signatory to the international treaty against the landmines.

More than a dozen rebel groups are fighting for autonomy in different parts of the country since its independence in 1948. EFE-EPA


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