Blasts from at least one parcel bomb in Myanmar have killed five people, including an ousted lawmaker and three police officers who had joined a civil disobedience movement opposing military rule, media reported yesterday.
Since the elected government led by Nobel laureate Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown in a coup on Feb. 1, Myanmar has seen an increasing number of small blasts in residential areas, and sometimes targeting government offices or military facilities.
The latest blasts were in a village in the southern central part of Myanmar in Western Bago and occurred at about 5pm on Monday, the Myanmar Now news portal reported, citing a resident.
Three blasts were triggered when at least one parcel bomb exploded at a house in the village, killing a regional lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party, as well as the three police officers and a resident, the report said.
Another police officer involved in the civil disobedience movement was also severely wounded after his arms were blown off by the explosion, the resident was cited as saying.
He had been hospitalized and was receiving treatment, it said.
Khit Thit Media also reported the blasts, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports and a military spokesman did not answer a telephone call seeking comment.
Violence has escalated since the coup, with hundreds reported killed by security forces, trying to quell pro-democracy protests in cities and rural towns.
Ethnic militias have also backed opposition to the junta and the military is fighting these groups on the fringes of Myanmar.
On Monday, the Kachin Independence Army, an ethnic rebel group, said it had shot down a military helicopter.
The Chinland Defense Force, a newly formed militia in Chin state bordering India, said on Facebook yesterday that its forces had killed at least four Burmese army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash overnight.
The Burmese army has not commented on either claim so far.
Pro-democracy supporters held protests yesterday in the second-biggest city of Mandalay, including one by education staff calling for a boycott of schools and universities when they reopen next month, Myanmar Now reported.
They also marched in Kanbauk in southern Myanmar, photographs posted by Khit Thit Media showed.
The junta has charged a Japanese journalist under a “fake news” law, a report said yesterday, in the latest blow to press freedom since the military seized power.
Freelance reporter Yuki Kitazumi was arrested last month and charged on Monday — World Press Freedom Day — with spreading fake news, Kyodo news agency reported.
He is one of 50 journalists held in Myanmar as part of the junta’s crackdown on protests. More than 750 people have been killed as security forces struggle to quash near-daily demonstrations against their rule.
Kyodo cited an unnamed Japanese embassy official as saying that Kitazumi had no health problems, despite spending several weeks in Yangon’s Insein Prison, which has a long and unsavory reputation for holding political prisoners.
Kitazumi has been in custody since April 18 — the second time he had been arrested since the coup.
In February, he was beaten up and briefly held during a crackdown on protesters, but was later released.
Japan, for years a top aid donor to Myanmar, has been pressing for his release.
“Naturally, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the Japanese national being held,” Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to the UK, national broadcaster NHK reported.
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