The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) has reported that the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) has been using antipersonnel landmines each year in armed conflict within the country, since the organization began producing its annual Landmine Monitor report in 1999. This is however the first known instance of the Myanmar military publicly acknowledging that use. Previously, Foreign Ministry officials have stated at international meetings that the Myanmar Army did not use antipersonnel mines.
In the Lower House of the Myanmar Parliament (Pyithu Hluttaw) on 13 September, Deputy Defence minister Major General Myint Nwe stated that the Tatmadaw continues to produce and use landmines. He is reported in the Myanmar Times to have said, “The Tatmadaw limits its landmine production and usage in its operations. On the front lines, for security reasons, it lays landmines systematically: registering them and clearing them systematically when soldiers leave a place. In armed conflict areas, [the Tatmadaw] lays landmines in regions where soldiers can’t be positioned, for the security of the area, with the aim to prevent destroying factories, bridges and power lines or towers. But the [mined areas] are fenced and landmine warning signs are posted there.”
Maj Gen Myint Nwe was reported to have said the Tatmadaw has been helping clear landmines when locals inform them of suspected explosive devices. He said the army has also been delivering public awareness addresses about landmines in a bid to reduce risk, and that armed groups have laid landmines at the entrance to villages and alongside roads.
Maj Gen Myint Nwe is reported to have said that the Tatmadaw is participating in ceasefire and peacemaking processes, as well as working to educate people about the danger of landmines, and inform them of clearance activities of the Myanmar Mine Action Center. He was also quoted as saying, “At the moment, the Tatmadaw is working together with local people to conduct humanitarian landmine clearance activities in the confluence of Thumwehta, Hpapun, Khaw Pote, Nat Taung and Dar Gwin in Kayin State.”