German tourist killed in Myanmar landmine blast



A German tourist was killed and an Argentine woman injured in a landmine explosion in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state, local police said Wednesday, days after the country was shamed over its continuing use of the weapons.

The accident happened near the town of Hsipaw, a popular hiking spot for backpackers who often ride the scenic route by train from Mandalay to reach the mountains.

A 40-year-old German tourist was “killed in a mine blast”, a duty police officer from Hsipaw township told AFP by phone Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The explosion happened Tuesday afternoon near the villages of Pan Nayung and Kwun Haung, he said.

“Tourists are not permitted to go to that area.”

He confirmed a 39-year-old Argentine woman was also “slightly injured” in the accident.

Local NGO Without Borders, which runs a de facto ambulance service staffed by volunteers, told AFP she had since been discharged from hospital.

Huge swathes of Myanmar’s restive borderlands are no-go areas for holidaymakers, with various ethnic armed groups fighting the military for more autonomy in shifting violence that has endured for decades.

Two foreign tourists were injured in a mine blast in 2016 in nearby Kyaukme township, according to local media.

Myanmar was one of the top offenders named in the Landmine Monitor 2019 report published last week.

The watchdog said it was the only country in the world where the use of new antipersonnel mines had been documented over the past year.

Both the military and armed groups stand accused of using mines and the country has so far refused to sign the Mine Ban Treaty.

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