Myanmar state media blames rebels for fatal mine blast
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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.


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

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