By Ahunt Phone Myat
A series of explosions on Friday struck several major cities in Burma, including Mandalay and the capital Naypyidaw.
Shortly after midday, a bomb detonated underneath a car in Mandalay, shattering windows of nearby buildings, including Zegyo Hotel, and injuring a bystander. A second explosion then occurred inside a disused home in the capital Naypyidaw.
“It was a powerful bomb,” said a Mandalay resident. “Shrapnel and a wheel from the car were blown away about 300 feet. Today the market is closed – normally there is a heavy traffic jam with a lot of motorbikes at the area. The whole town is now in panic.”
Confusion has surrounded the second explosion, with doubt over whether it came from a planted device.
An anonymous government official told AFP that there was a “bomb blast at an old house near the Thabyaykone market in Naypyidaw”, and that no casualties had been reported.
But a Naypyidaw resident told DVB: “It wasn’t a bomb – just a gas tank explosion from a refrigerator and air-conditioner repair shop. The whole town went into panic assuming it was a bomb explosion but it later turned out not to be.”
According to the Rangoon-based The Voice journal, an explosions occurred in Pyin Oo Lwin, close to Mandalay and the headquarters of the Burmese army’s top training academy.
The journal said that it occurred near to a park in Ward 3. Around 3pm, another suspicious device was removed by police on 84th street outside a jewellers shop, according to The Voice.
Images released from the scene of the Mandalay incident suggest that the device had been packed full of shrapnel.
Rumours are also circulating that an explosion has occurred in Rangoon, although there has been no confirmation of this.