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Kachin rebels shoot down military helicopter as parcel bomb kills 5 in central Myanmar

Socialapps.Tech 5 May 3

An ethnic rebel group in Myanmar's mountainous north claimed to have shot down a military helicopter, and at least one parcel bomb went off in another part of the country, as fighting intensified following the coup.

On Monday, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said it had shot down a military helicopter near the town of Moemauk in Kachin province after days of military air raids.

"The military council launched air strikes in that area since around 8 or 9 this morning ... using jet fighters and also fired shots using a helicopter so we shot back at them," said spokesman Naw Bu by telephone.

He declined to say what weapons were used.

A resident in the area, who declined to be named, said by telephone that four people had died in hospital after artillery shells hit a monastery in the village.

Meanwhile, blasts from at least one parcel bomb in southern central Myanmar killed five people, including an ousted lawmaker and three police officers who had joined a civil disobedience movement opposing military rule, media reported on Tuesday.

Myanmar has seen an increasing number of small blasts in residential areas, sometimes targeting government offices or military facilities, since the elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown on February 1.

The latest blasts were in a village in Western Bago and occurred at around 5 p.m. local time on Monday, the Myanmar Now news portal reported, citing a resident.

Three blasts were triggered when at least one parcel bomb exploded at a house in the village, killing a regional lawmaker from Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) party, as well as the three police officers and a resident, the report said.

Another police officer involved in the civil disobedience movement was also severely wounded after his arms were blown off by the explosion, the resident was cited as saying. He had been hospitalized and was receiving treatment, it said.

Khit Thit media also reported the blasts, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports of the downed helicopter or the parcel bombs, and a military spokesman did not answer a phone call seeking comment.

In another sign of the growing insecurity, the junta-appointed head of the ward administration office in Yangon's Tharketa district was stabbed at his office and later died of his wounds, Khit Thit Media said. Two residents of the district confirmed the report. Police did not respond to a request for comment.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group says security forces have killed at least 766 civilians since the coup.

The junta disputes the figure and says at least 24 members of security forces have been killed during the protests. Reuters is unable to verify casualties because of the curbs placed on media by the junta. Many journalists are among the thousands of people who have been detained.

The junta said it had to seize power because its complaints of fraud in a November election won by Suu Kyi's party were not addressed by an election commission that deemed the vote fair.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup along with many other members of her party. The AAPP says more than 3,600 people are currently in detention for opposing the military.

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