The Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) Chief Major Naing Maung Zaw informed Mizzima that they would adopt a plan of action to complete demining in Karen state by the end of the year.
“We will resume demining next week. We believe the work will be completed by the end of the year. Some mines need advanced technical expertise during demining. The mines planted by KNU can be demined only by them. So we are focusing on demining mines that we planted”, he said.
BGF landmine maps depict many mines left untouched in Meesaing, Kyonehtaw, Myainggyingu areas in Karen state.
An agreement was reached among ethnic Karen armed groups to carry out demining in Karen state, after which they started work a few months ago. However, work was suspended due to severe flood and heavy rain in August. DKBA soldiers from demining group said that they had to suspend work for about a month.
An officer from DKBA demining group said, “Demining cannot be carried out in haste. Many mines will be left in the minefield, if we demine hurriedly. One of our soldiers was killed last month while he was sweeping mines. This work takes time and we must be patient.”
A soldier can sweep a maximum of 20 landmines a week.
Major Naing Maung Zaw said that they put up warning signs in places where they do not have minefield maps. He also said although mines were cleared, there could be some left in a few places.
“In many places, most of the mines have been cleared and we plan to demine undiscovered mines through a combing operation of these areas. In every meeting, we have raised difficulties we face while clearing mines that were planted by various groups”, he added.
Ethnic armed groups in Karen state have been holding meetings every three months to promote cooperation in demining, drug elimination and local development work.