YANGON (Reuters) - One man was killed when a bomb exploded on a bus in army-ruled Myanmar, newspapers said on Tuesday, the latest incident ahead of anniversaries that sometimes serve as flashpoints for dissent.
Another male passenger was wounded when the device exploded early on Monday as the minibus traveled from the eastern town of Kyaukkyi to the former capital Yangon.
The Myanma Alin newspaper blamed the blast on “insurgents resorting to various destructive acts with intent to jeopardize the stability of the state, community peace and tranquility by causing casualties and panic among the innocent people”.
Kyaukkyi is in Karen state, home to the largest of the rebel militias in the former Burma.
The junta normally points the finger at dissident groups, ranging from exiled pro-democracy activists to ethnic militias who have been fighting for greater autonomy or even independence for more than five decades.
The regime stepped up security measures in early July after a small bomb exploded at the offices of a pro-junta group, and ahead of several key anniversaries.
Martyrs’ Day on July 19 commemorates the assassination of General Aung San, the architect of the country’s independence from British rule and father of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Nobel peace laureate has been confined at her Yangon home for nearly 13 of the past 19 years, with her latest detention beginning in May 2003.
Another major date is August 8, the numerically auspicious 08-08-08 and 20th anniversary of an “8-8-88” student uprising crushed by the army with the loss of an estimated 3,000 lives.
The looming first anniversary of last September’s monk-led protests against the regime, in which at least 31 people died in a military crackdown, has seen increased surveillance of key Buddhist monasteries by junta spies.
Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Darren Schuettler and David Fox
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.