Lawmaker among 5 killed in Myanmar parcel bomb blasts

Country has seen rising number of such small explosions since coup

Demonstrators flashing the three-finger salute during an anti-coup protest in Myanmar's second-biggest city Mandalay on Monday. Ethnic militias have backed opposition to the junta, and the military is fighting these groups on the country's fringes. A
Demonstrators flashing the three-finger salute during an anti-coup protest in Myanmar's second-biggest city Mandalay on Monday. Ethnic militias have backed opposition to the junta, and the military is fighting these groups on the country's fringes. A newly formed militia in Chin state said yesterday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

YANGON • 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, according to media reports yesterday.

Since the elected government led by Nobel Peace 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 were in a village in Western Bago, the southern central part of Myanmar, and occurred at around 5pm on Monday, the Myanmar Now news 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 Ms Suu Kyi's National League for 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 severely wounded after his arms were blown off by the explosion, the resident was cited as saying. He had been hospitalised and was receiving treatment.

Khit Thit Media also reported the explosions, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area. Reuters could not independently verify the reports and a military spokesman did not answer a call seeking comment.

Violence has escalated since the coup, with hundreds reported to have been 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 yesterday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash overnight.

The Myanmar 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.

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 says security forces have killed at least 766 civilians since the coup.

The junta disputes the figure and says at least 24 members of security forces have been killed during the protests.

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

Many journalists are among the thousands of people who have been detained.

The junta has revoked the licences of a string of media groups since the coup, including two news outlets in Kachin in recent days, Myitkyina News Journal and The 74 Media.

The junta said it had to seize power because its complaints of fraud in a November election won by Ms Suu Kyi's party were not addressed by an election commission that deemed the vote fair.

Ms Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup, along with many other members of her party.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2021, with the headline 'Lawmaker among 5 killed in Myanmar parcel bomb blasts'. Subscribe