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Myanmar: Military helicopter shot down by Kachin rebels as package bomb kills 5



On Monday, Kachin’s Independence Army (KIA) said it had shot down a military helicopter near the town of Moemauk in Kachin province after days of military airstrikes.

“The military council launched airstrikes in this area since about 8 or 9 this morning … using fighter jets and also fired shots using a helicopter, so we fired back at them,” spokesman Naw Bu said by telephone.

He refused to say what weapons were used.

A resident of the area, who refused to be named, said by telephone that four people had died at the hospital after artillery shells hit a monastery in the village.

Meanwhile, explosions from at least one package bomb in south-central Myanmar killed five people, including an ousted lawmaker and three police officers who had joined a civil disobedience movement opposed to military rule, media reported on Tuesday.
Myanmar has seen a growing number of minor explosions in residential areas, sometimes targeting government offices or military facilities, since the elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown on 1 February.

The latest explosions were in a village in western Bago and took place around noon. 17 local time Monday, the Myanmar Now news portal reported, citing a resident.

Three explosions were triggered when at least one package bomb exploded at a house in the village, killing a regional lawmaker from the Suu Kyi National League of Democracy (NLD) party as well as the three police officers and a resident, according to the report.

Another police officer involved in civil disobedience movement was also badly injured after his arms were blown up by the explosion, the resident was quoted as saying. He had been admitted to hospital and was in treatment, it said.

Khit Thit media also reported on the explosions, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports from the decommissioned helicopter or the package bombs, and a military spokesman did not answer a phone call requesting comment.

Myanmar's military is waging war against its citizens.  Some say it's time to fight back

In another sign of growing insecurity, the junta-appointed head of the branch office in Yangon’s Tharketa district was stabbed to his office and later died of his wounds, Khit Thit Media said. Two residents of the district confirmed the report. Police did not respond to a request for comment.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) lawyer group says security forces have killed at least 766 civilians since the coup.

The junta disputes the figure, saying at least 24 members of security forces were killed during the protests. Reuters is unable to verify losses due to the curbs that the junta has laid on the media. Many journalists are among the thousands of people who have been detained.

The junta said it had to take power because its complaints of fraud in an election won by Suu Kyi’s party in November were not considered by an electoral commission that considered the vote fair.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup along with many other members of her party. The AAPP says more than 3,600 people are currently in detention for opposing the military.


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