Five killed in parcel bomb blasts

BLASTS from at least one parcel bomb in Myanmar have killed five people, including an ousted lawmaker and three police officers who joined a civil disobedience movement opposing military rule, media reported.

Since the elected government led by Nobel laureate 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 took place at around 5pm on Monday in a village in Western Bago, the Myanmar Now news portal reported yesterday, 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 Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy party, 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, the resident was cited as saying.

Khit Thit Media also reported the blasts, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

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 Defence Force, a newly-formed militia in Chin state bordering India, said on its Facebook page yesterday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash overnight.

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 in June, Myanmar Now reported.

In addition, anti-coup demonstrators marched in Kanbauk in southern Myanmar, photographs posted by Khit Thit Media showed.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group said security forces killed at least 766 civilians since the coup.

Reuters is unable to verify casualties because of the curbs placed on media by the junta.

A report yesterday said the junta had charged a Japanese journalist under a “fake news” law, 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, said the Kyodo news agency.

He is one of 50 journalists currently held in Myanmar as part of the junta’s crackdown on widespread protests against the coup.

The junta has revoked the licences of a string of media groups since the coup, including two news outlets in Kachin in recent days. — Agencies

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