Two military-owned supermarkets burn down while Yangon is under curfew

Two supermarkets run by a military-owned conglomerate in Yangon burnt down early on Thursday morning while the city was under a junta-imposed curfew. 

The fire started at the Ruby Mart on Bogyoke Road in downtown Yangon’s Kyauktada township at around 2am on Thursday. By 7 am, the supermarket had been completely destroyed, according to local residents.  

“All floors of the [four-story] building were damaged terribly,” a resident who lives near Ruby Mart said.  “But the strange thing was that the hotel right beside the supermarket didn’t catch on fire.”

Members of the Myanmar Fire Service Department try to put out the fire at the Ruby Mart (Myanmar Fire Service Department/ Facebook)

Gandamar Wholesale supermarket in Mayangone township also caught fire at around 2am. The fire service was still working to extinguish the blaze at around 9am. 

An official from the fire department in Yangon told Myanmar Now that he could not comment on the cause of the fires. 

Both Ruby Mart and Gandamar Wholesale are owned by Shwe Gandamar International Trading, a subsidiary of military conglomerate Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL).

Both the U.S. and U.K announced sanctions against MEHL on March 26.

The supermarkets are among several businesses that have been boycotted by opponents of the coup due to their affiliation with the Myanmar military.

Members of the public and netizens pointed out that at the time the fires occurred, only members of the armed forces were allowed on the streets.

“The time it happened was during [curfew] hours when civilians can’t go out,” the local resident said.

Myanmar’s military council has imposed nightly curfews from 8 pm until 4 am in nearly every city and town since February 8, one week after staging a coup and detaining civilian leaders. 

A CNN crew in Yangon for an escorted visit choreographed by the military also went to the site of the burnt Gandamar Wholesale supermarket at around 9am on Thursday.


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