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Sunday , 19 August 2018
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Myanmar laying landmines

Myanmar has been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days, according to reports citing two government sources in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

The sources say the purpose may be to prevent the return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence.

Bangladesh will on Wednesday formally lodge a protest against the laying of landmines so close to the border, the sources – who had direct knowledge of the situation but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter – said in a statement.

Since the latest round of violence began in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, at least 400 people have been killed, and nearly 125,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

“They are putting the landmines in their territory along the barbed-wire fence” between a series of border pillars, one of the sources said.

Manzurul Hassan Khan, a Bangladeshi border guard officer, told earlier that two blasts were heard on Tuesday on the Myanmar side.

Two similar blasts on Monday had already prompted speculation that Myanmar forces had laid landmines.

One boy had his left leg blown off on Tuesday near a border crossing before being brought to Bangladesh for treatment, while another boy suffered minor injuries, Khan said, adding that the blast could have been a mine explosion.

A Rohingya refugee who went to the site of the blast on Monday – on a footpath near where civilians fleeing violence are huddled in what is being described as “no man’s land” on the border – filmed what appeared to be a mine: a metal disc about 10cm in diameter partially buried in the mud.

He said he believed there were two more such devices buried in the ground.

The border pillars mentioned by the Dhaka-based sources demarcate the boundaries of the two countries, along which Myanmar has a portion of barbed wire fencing.

Most of the two countries’ 217km-long border is porous.

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