Bomb blasts hit Burma’s capital, Naypyidaw, as well as the country’s second-largest city of Mandalay and the town of Pyin Oo Lwin on Friday, in the first major series of bombings since a new military-backed government took power in March.
According to witnesses and police officials, the first bomb exploded at around noon near the Mann Myanmar Plaza and Zay Cho Hotel in downtown Mandalay, injuring at least two people and destroying one vehicle.
A few minutes later, a second explosion occurred in Naypyidaw’s Tapyay Gone area, near the government’s Gems Museum. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the blast, although witnesses said a house was badly damaged.
“The explosion was very strong. The top of a house was damaged,” said a witness in Naypyidaw.
There were also reports of a third blast in Pyin Oo Lwin, home to the Burmese military’s elite Defense Services Academy, near an army supply and transport base.
The series of blasts comes amid an armed conflict between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army, Burma’s second largest ethnic armed group, that started on June 9.
Blasts were also reported in Kachin State earlier this week, in the state capital, Myitkyina, and in Bhamo, near the Chinese border.