Yangon on edge as security tightened amid wave of explosions

Yangon residents say that Myanmar’s military has been on high alert in the city since Tuesday following a series of explosions in several different townships.

Military vehicles were seen patrolling a number of areas on Wednesday, local sources said. In Tamwe Township, junta forces were said to be conducting searches around Aung Mingalar Street after a bomb was discovered there on Tuesday morning.

One Tamwe resident told Myanmar Now that trucks filled with soldiers had also been spotted near the Yankin Centre shopping mall, northwest of where the bomb was found, as well as in residential areas farther south.

“They were patrolling around Kyauk Myaung and Tamwe wards, but they also checked the guest lists of households on 109th and 150th streets last night. We haven’t heard about any arrests yet, though,” the Tamwe local said.

An urban guerrilla group calling itself the Yangon Liberation Force later released a statement saying that it had planted the bomb near some military trucks, but decided not to detonate it due to the presence of civilians.

Meanwhile, soldiers were also seen conducting searches in Sanchaung Township on Wednesday morning after a hand grenade was thrown at a traffic police outpost under the Myaynigone overpass the day before.

“I saw junta vehicles patrolling around the neighbourhood between 8am and 9 this morning,” said one Sanchaung local.

There were also reports on social media of explosions in front of the Dagon Centre mall in Myaynigone and at a park on 5th Street in Hlaing Tharyar Township. Two civilians were reportedly killed in these attacks, and seven injured, but Myanmar Now was unable to confirm these reports.

On Tuesday, the Federal Liberation Army-Hlaing Tharyar, another urban guerrilla group operating in Yangon, released a statement claiming that it had bombed the home of Zin Zin Hlaing, the sister of coup regime leader Min Aung Hlaing. However, this could not be confirmed.

Two other armed organizations, Special Nway Oo and God’s Hand Forces, also released statements that they had attacked a traffic police outpost near the North Point Mall on Pyay Road in Mayangone Township. No further information was available.

The latest attacks come amid increasing repression of peaceful protests against the regime that seized power last year.

According to activist sources, more than 50 people were arrested in Yangon last month on suspicion of taking part in flash mob protests. 

According to the latest figures released by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 11,483 people arrested since last year’s coup remain in detention.

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