Myanmar junta and anti-coup fighters trade accusations over ferry bomb

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Myanmar’s junta and anti-coup fighters on Monday traded accusations over a bomb attack on a Yangon commuter ferry that wounded 17 people, the latest blast to hit the commercial hub.

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The explosion struck a vessel ferrying people from the city’s bustling downtown across the Yangon river to the township of Dala on Sunday evening, the junta said.

Images published by local media showed blood and debris strewn across the wooden floor of the boat.

The junta on Monday blamed “PDF terrorists” for the attack, referring to “People’s Defense Force” groups that have sprung up across the country since the military’s putsch that clash regularly with junta troops.

It said a “hand-made mine” had been used in the attack, and that 17 wounded people were being treated at a hospital in Yangon.

No group has claimed the attack and the Dala PDF released its own statement denying involvement.

“As we are on the side of the people, we will never do any action like this incident that can physically or mentally harm people,” the group said in a statement.

It also accused the junta of “pretending to be us (PDFs)... carrying out mine attacks on the public”.

Dala is a semi-rural township that sprawls across swampland south of Yangon and is home to many daily wage earners who work in the commercial capital.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power. There are almost daily killings of low-level junta officials or anti-coup fighters, with details murky and reprisals often following quickly.

In October, at least two bombs exploded outside a Yangon prison, killing eight people and wounding 18 in an attack the junta blamed on “terrorist” anti-coup fighters.

In July, a bomb blast near a shopping mall in Yangon killed two people and wounded 11.

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