Myanmar state media blames rebels for fatal mine blast

Last Updated: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 18:48

Yangon: Myanmar`s junta-run state media on Saturday blamed ethnic insurgents for an explosion that killed two people and wounded another 11 when their bus hit a mine in
the country`s east.

The blast took place last Sunday in Karen State, around
200 kilometres from economic hub Yangon, where an ethnic rebel
group has been fighting the junta for more than five decades.

"The incident occurred when the bus... hit the mine
planted by Kayin (Karen) insurgents," the English-language New
Light of Myanmar reported.

"Officials concerned are providing assistance for the
victims," it added.

It is the third time since December that the junta has
blamed the Karen National Union (KNU) for a blast in the
eastern state.

It was also the first blast reported by the newspaper
since controversial election laws were announced last week
ahead of national polls to be held later this year -- the
first in two decades.

Civil war has wracked the country since independence in
1948, and while most rebel groups have reached ceasefire deals
with the junta, analysts say the army is determined to crush
the rest before the national elections.

The regime has stepped up its decades-long campaign
against minority groups, with offensives against ethnic
Chinese Kokang rebels in the northeast in August 2009 and the
Christian Karen insurgents in June.

In January, aid groups said an army crackdown in the
eastern region had forced 2,000 ethnic Karen villagers to flee
into the jungle.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 18:48

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