Myanmar junta detains family of man killed in Yangon bomb blast

The mother and sister of a man who was killed by a bomb blast in Yangon on Tuesday were held for questioning the next day, according to a neighbour of the family.

“They were taken in briefly to be questioned, but they came back at around 10pm that night,” said a resident of the same ward in Yangon’s Dawbon Township where the victim had lived with his family.

Htein Lin Htun, 25, was the only person to die when a bomb went off near a crowded bus stop at the corner of Anawrahta Rd and 35th St in Kyauktada Township at around 3:30pm on Tuesday. Nine others were injured.

At a press conference held on Wednesday, junta spokesperson Gen Zaw Min Tun suggested that the dead man might have been the perpetrator of the attack.

“We went through his phone and saw texts that included conversations about a bombing order,” he said, adding that Htein Lin Htun had allegedly received training as a member of the anti-regime People’s Defence Force (PDF).

Myanmar Now attempted to contact his family for comment on the military’s claims, but did not receive a reply.

According to the neighbour, who did not want to be identified, Htein Lin Htun was not well known to others living in the ward.

Members of urban guerrilla groups active in Yangon said they didn’t believe the attack was the work of any of the city’s many anti-junta resistance forces.

Noting that the blast appeared to have been caused by a C-4 explosive, one resistance fighter said he found the regime’s account of what happened to be completely implausible.

“We could guess what type of explosive was used from the explosion itself. But it’s almost impossible for any urban guerrilla group to make a C-4 bomb, because the material is just too expensive,” he said. 

“This is just the military trying to frame the resistance groups,” he added.

He also said that the junta’s discovery of two undetonated bombs in the same area also raised questions about who was really behind the blast.

Numerous guerrilla groups have been formed in Myanmar’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay, in the wake of brutal crackdowns on protests against last year’s military coup.

While these groups have carried out many attacks on junta targets, including civilians accused of acting as informants for the military, they have not been linked to any incidents involving members of the general public.

All groups opposed to the restoration of military rule in Myanmar, including the country’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG), have been designated as terrorist organisations by the regime.

In a statement released shortly after Tuesday’s explosion, the NUG’s defence ministry denounced “such a violent attack that targets civilians.”

Naing Htoo Aung, the ministry’s secretary, told Myanmar Now that no groups operating under the command of the NUG were responsible for the incident.

He also suggested that the bombing could have been carried out to create “misunderstanding” between the public and the NUG’s armed wing, the PDF.

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