05/04/2021, 16.15
MYANMAR
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Bago, parcel bomb kills a parliamentarian, three civil disobedience policemen and another man

by Francis Khoo Thwe

National League for Democracy deputy Thet Win Hlaing was hiding from the repression, along with deserting policemen. A fourth policeman was injured and lost both arms in the blast. Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi accused of "fake news": he faces up to three years in prison.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - Five people were killed yesterday afternoon in the Bago region, in Pyay. The victims include parliamentarian Thet Win Hlaing (photo 1), from the National League for Democracy (NdL) and three policemen, who after defecting joined the movement for civil disobedience against the military junta.

The fifth killed is the landlord who housed the parliamentarian and the policemen hiding from repression. A fourth policeman was seriously injured and is now in hospital. Due to the blast, the injured man lost both arms.

According to some residents, cited by Myanmar Now, 10 trucks of soldiers and police arrived at the scene immediately after the bomb exploded.

Since the coup d'état, the junta has become increasingly violent in its repression of protests in cities and villages (photos 2 and 3) which continue almost every day. In recent weeks, armed ethnic groups – engaged in a decades long battle against the army - have joined the opposition and to defend the population, they are targeting military bases.

As previously announced, yesterday the Kia (Kachin Independence Army) hit and destroyed a helicopter with three soldiers on board in the Kone Law region.

Local media – obedient to junta orders - also report the killing of a local administrator who was stabbed in Yangon. Much information is difficult to verify due to the crackdown on journalists. There are about 30 journalists in prison, many local, some foreigners. Among the latter there is also the Japanese Yuki Kitazumi (photo 4), who just yesterday - world press freedom day - was accused of spreading "fake news". He was arrested on April 18 and has been in prison ever since. He is a correspondent for several newspapers and has followed the coup d'état and the demonstrations from the very beginning. On his personal blog, he often praised the young protesters and condemned the violence of the junta.

If convicted, Kitazumi faces up to three years in prison. The Japanese embassy in the country says so far the journalist is in good health and that it is seeking to obtain his release.

According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, the number of those killed from the first day of the coup (February 1, 2021) until yesterday, rose to 766. In the same period, the junta arrested 3,614 people; 80 of them were sentenced.

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