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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Myanmar's junta arrests dozens over alleged arson, bombings

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 12 May 2021 8:09 AM

Security forces in Myanmar have arrested dozens of people, accusing them of masterminding arson attacks and explosions, amid anti-coup protests that have sparked fears of a civil war in the country.

The junta announced on Wednesday that its forces had arrested 39 people suspected of having been behind arson attacks.

The forces also arrested some individuals suspected of having tried to receive military training with a rebel group in Kayah State in the east, the junta said.

Since taking power in a coup d'etat in February, the junta has detained 3,859 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group.

Demonstrations and a deadly crackdown have since roiled the nation, with security forces killing at least 783 people across the country.

The United Nations (UN)'s human rights office said on Tuesday that the military's human rights violations went far beyond killings.

"It is clear that there needs to be greater international involvement to prevent the human rights situation in Myanmar from deteriorating further," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The country has recently seen a growing wave of small blasts in cities and towns, some targeting government offices and military facilities.

No group has claimed responsibility, but the military has blamed the protesters.

Security forces said they had seized 48 "handmade mines," 20 sticks of TNT, detonators, fuses, and other material in a raid, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Other explosive material, including gun powder, had also been found, said the paper.

Fighting has recently escalated in border areas between the military and ethnic groups supporting the anti-coup protesters.

Many ethnic groups, which have maintained their own forces for decades, have also been supporting the so-called National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow opposition government that the junta has branded as a terrorist group.

The two most important armed groups — the Kachin Army (KIA) in the north and the Karen National Union (KNU) in the east — are actively engaged in combat with military forces.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last month that about 50 clashes between the military and ethnic rebels had been reported in several areas in Kachin State. Nearly 5,000 people have been displaced.

Since the coup, many people have fled to territory controlled by ethnic groups to take military training.

Observers warn that the escalation of fighting in the border region has now brought the country to the brink of civil war.

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