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Myanmar rebel group bombs gold shop chain, alleges its link with junta

An insurgent militia in central Myanmar planted a bomb at a gold shop chain, alleging it was linked to the junta. The explosion injured six civilians, residents told Radio Free Asia on Thursday.

The anti-junta group, No More Dictatorship People Defense Force, targeted a shop in Mandalay Division’s Chanayethazan township on Wednesday afternoon.

“We know that Zwe Htet gold shops have been made with the shares of the junta council’s leaders,” said the leader of the group who goes by Charlie. 

“So we carried out this [attack] with the intention of letting people know about one of the junta council’s economic pillars and telling people not to support them.”

Zwe Htet is a national chain selling gold, jewelry and gems, with branches spanning Mandalay and Yangon’s commercial areas. 

RFA has not been able to independently verify the guerilla group’s claims about the chain’s financial connections to the junta. The chain has not released any information about the attack.

Junta soldiers and police arrived shortly after the blast, said one witness, asking to remain anonymous for security reasons. 

“I went outside to see what happened right after I heard the explosion, but the gold shop’s doors were still shut,” he said. “Then the police came after a while and I saw an employee was carried out of the area.”

Three of the shop’s employees and three other bystanders were injured in the attack blast, residents said.

Mandalay Division’s junta spokesperson, Thein Htay, has not responded to RFA inquiries as of this writing. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Taejun Kang.