Tight security for coup leader’s visit as explosions wrack Yangon

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing tours a vessel that’s part of Myanmar’s new coast guard on Wednesday in Yangon. Photo: Myanmar Army PR
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing tours a vessel that’s part of Myanmar’s new coast guard on Wednesday in Yangon. Photo: Myanmar Army PR

Security measures have been ramped up as junta leader Min Aung Hlaing continued his visit to Yangon on today amid another round of bomb attacks.

The general who overthrew the elected government reportedly attended a morning ceremony dedicating Yangon’s first pedestrian tunnel under Pyay Road in Kamayut Township. That’s just across town from South Dagon Township, where a bomb exploded in the No. 22 Ward just before dawn followed by a reported explosion at a nearby train station. 

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a heightened security presence this morning.

“I’ve seen soldiers interrogating motorists at at least two stops on the way,” said Aung Kyaw, who was traveling from Insein to Sancahung township at around 8:30am today.  “They were early today. I haven’t seen them on other days at such a time.”

Eruptions of violence around the city greeted Min Aung Hlaing’s arrival Wednesday, when he attended a ceremony for the newly formed Myanmar Coast Guard in Thanlyin township.

Two bombs exploded at about 6pm near the entrance to a naval facility on Bogyoke Myo Pat Road, and soldiers reportedly opened fire on random targets. According to local witnesses, one soldier was killed and three were injured about 90 minutes later in a shootout between the junta forces and insurgent fighters in Kawhmu Township’s Mawtaw hamlet.

Of the three injured, one sergeant was being treated at Kyaik Htaw Hospital for a neck injury, while the three soldiers were treated for leg injuries. Six youths from Wah Theik village were arrested in connection with the incident and security has tightened at the moment.

Minutes later, two bombs exploded in No.4 Ward of Mayangone Township, while four bombs exploded near the Aung Zeya Bridge in Insein Township, injuring two soldiers. Later last night, another blast went off in Mingaladon Township. 

The scattered attacks by fighters loyal to the ousted civilian lawmakers behind the National Unity Government come as they received their first significant recognition in Europe, where the French Senate overwhelmingly adopted a motion of resolution recognizing the shadow government as Myanmar’s official government.

“We are grateful for the adoption of the resolution to recognize the NUG, our legitimate government. Great step towards people’s desire, return to democracy”, said Tin Tin Htar Mytin, a Burmese activist living in France. 

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