Three 'handmade bombs' explode in Yangon supermarket: Official

Myanmar police personnel stand guard at a supermarket where three bombs exploded in Yangon on Nov 20, 2016.
Myanmar police personnel stand guard at a supermarket where three bombs exploded in Yangon on Nov 20, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Three suspected handmade bombs exploded in a supermarket in southern Yangon on Sunday (Nov 20), authorities said, although no casualties were reported.

Security forces locked down the area with sniffer dogs after the blasts went off around 5.30 pm in Thakeyta township.

"No one was injured in three small explosions this evening," Yangon regional social minister Naing Ngan Linn told AFP from the scene.

"According to initial inspections by security forces, they are handmade bombs. Soldiers and police are still inspecting the area now."

The explosions came hours after two civilians were killed in clashes in a northern town on Myanmar's border with China.

Fighting broke out between the military and four ethnic armed groups, including the powerful Kachin Independence Army, reigniting a years-long conflict that has displaced 100,000 people.

One of them, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, denied having any hand in the Yangon explosions.

"We are men. We fight openly," said spokesman Phone Win Naing.

The clashes are another blow to de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's hopes of forging a nationwide peace agreement after years of war in Myanmar's restive hinterlands.

They also come days after authorities pledged to step up security at Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda, Buddhist Myanmar's most revered holy site, over concerns about terrorist attacks.

Local media said increased security measures were put in place after a surge in violence in northern Rakhine state after attacks on police border posts last month.

Troops have poured into the area, mainly home to the Muslim Rohingya minority, killing dozens of people and displacing more than 30,000.