The extent of damage and number of casualties remain unconfirmed after a bomb detonated at a branch of the military-owned Myawaddy Bank in Chanayethazan Township, Mandalay at around 2pm on Saturday.
“The explosion was loud. I saw an ambulance coming,” said a woman living near the branch.
Posts on pro-regime social media channels claim there were no casualties from the explosion, but neither the military council nor Myawaddy Bank has issued any public statements about the incident.
Claiming responsibility for the explosion on Sunday morning, a Mandalay-based urban guerrilla group called the No More Dictatorship People [sic] Defence Force (NMD) claimed one junta police officer was killed and two were injured in the attack.
The group said that the aim of the bombing was to disrupt the military regime, and made reference to the worsening inflation after the regime’s recent issue of a 20,000-kyat banknote. They added that they carried out the attack on a bank holiday to avoid harm to civilians.
Within minutes of the explosion, the junta’s administrator for Chanayethazan Township, accompanied by about 10 soldiers and police, arrived at the scene. Local residents said that they began examining footage from closed-circuit security cameras positioned around the bank and questioning various people in the vicinity.
After seizing power in 2021, the coup regime deployed armed guards to branches of the military-owned Myawaddy Bank, which was originally established in 1993 under the previous military dictatorship led by Than Shwe.
Myawaddy Bank’s branches have repeatedly come under attack by anti-junta resistance forces since the coup. A bombing at this branch injured a guard at another Mandalay branch in Chanmyethazi Township in April 2021, two months after the coup.
Later attacks by armed resistance groups targeted soldiers and police guarding Myawaddy Bank branches in several cities in 2022 and 2023.
On September 11 of this year, urban guerrilla forces carried out a bomb attack on an Internal Revenue Department office in Mandalay’s Chanmyathazi Township. The attack came three days after a public statement by the junta-controlled Road Transport Administration Department announcing a threefold increase in vehicle registration fees.