Girl killed and two others injured as soldiers open fire after Mandalay blast

A 15-year-old girl was killed and two men were injured early Thursday morning after soldiers opened fire following an explosion near a ward administration office in Mandalay, according to residents.

The incident occurred in Nyaung Kwe, a ward in Mandalay’s Aungmyethazan Township, at around 7am, residents said. None of the victims could be identified at the time of reporting.

“We heard a loud bang and the soldiers just started shooting non-stop. The girl died on the spot and two men were injured. A social service group came to pick them all up,” a man who witnessed the incident told Myanmar Now.

One of the injured men was shot in the shoulder, while the other suffered an injury to his ear, he added.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, and it is unknown if there were any casualties. Attempts to reach the Aungmyethazan police station for information were unsuccessful.

According to some social media posts that cited junta soldiers, the girl was killed by the blast after two men on motorcycles threw a bomb at the ward office. 

This account was disputed by people living in the area. 

“The bomb didn’t kill her. The soldiers’ reckless shooting killed her,” said a local man who did not want to be identified.

Soon after the three victims were taken away, soldiers blocked the road near the ward office and started questioning pedestrians, residents said.

A similar incident occurred last month when a five-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet after soldiers opened fire in response to a series of three blasts in Mandalay’s Chanmyathazi Township.

Regime forces have repeatedly used excessive force against civilians since the military seized power in a coup last year. In many cases, soldiers and police have fired indiscriminately into crowds or even rammed into them with vehicles.   

The junta rarely comments on these incidents, except to deny responsibility. 

In a speech delivered at the elite Defence Services Academy last month, coup leader Min Aung Hlaing claimed that his regime was trying to “minimize bloodshed” in its efforts to crush resistance to its rule.

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