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Mizzima: Latpadaung victim undergoes fifth skin graft

Latpadaung victim undergoes fifth skin graft (click to view article)

Buddhist novice U Thazana, 14, who was seriously injured during the Myanmar riot police’s violent crackdown on Latpadaung protesters, is still receiving medical treatment in the Royal Thai Army Hospital in Bangkok after undergoing a fifth skin graft on February 4.

According to U Tayzawtharya, a fellow monk who has been looking after him, a doctor at the hospital initially said he could leave the hospital within a few days, “however, the dermatologist was not satisfied with the results of the previous skin graft and decided to do another.”

U Thazana initially received medical treatment at the Special Skin Hospital in Yangon, but the wounds around his ankles did not heal, and on December 13 he was transported to Thailand to receive further treatment. He was originally treated at Bangkok Hospital before being moved to the Royal Thai Army Hospital on December 25.

A senior Myanmar monk who was injured in the crackdown, Ashin Taikka Nyarna, 64, is also receiving treatment at the Royal Thai Army Hospital, and is expected to remain there for another two months while he receives a further three skin grafts, according to his son, Dr. Nay Thu Kha.

Ashin Taikka Nyarna underwent a three-hour skin graft operation on his right thigh on February 5.

For several months last year, protestors had staged a sit-in at the Latpadaung copper mine project in Sagaing Region calling for its suspension on environmental and social grounds. Before dawn on November 29, 2012, riot police dispersed the activists violently; more than 100 monks and civilians were injured in the incident.

Many of those injured suffered severe burns, wounds that doctors say are consistent with an incendiary device. The Myanmar authorities initially denied that any such weapon was employed, saying they used only smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

But on January 30, The New York Times reported that a group of lawyers investigating the crackdown were claiming that the police had used white phosphorus, a munition normally reserved for warfare, to break up the protest.

A government-appointed Latpadaung Inquiry Commission led by Aung San Suu Kyi was due to release its interim report by January 31, but it has been delayed until further notice.

The Latpadaung Inquiry Commission has provided financial aid to the injured monks who are receiving medical treatment in Thailand. The Myanmar government has said it will foot the bill.
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