Lashio (AsiaNews / Agencies) – An bomb blast yesterday at a bank in Lashio, an important north-eastern city in Shan State, has left two people dead and twenty-two wounded. The state has long been plagued by a conflict between different ethnic armed groups and the army Burmese. Government and military sources state that investigations are underway, but no suspects have been identified at the moment. Zaw Htay, a spokesman for the government, reveals in a brief statement that the two victims were employees of Yoma Bank, employed for the branch located in the heart of the city.
With its 170 thousand inhabitants, Lashio is one of the largest cities in the northeast of Myanmar, along the main road that connects the central city of Mandalay to the most important border crossing with China at Muse, about 110 km to the north. Bomb explosions in Shan towns are not unusual, but they are generally much smaller than yesterday’s . Victims and civilian injuries are rare. Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, wants to revive a difficult peace process to end decades of ethnic wars. Two armed groups signed a ceasefire with the government last week.
The Lady says that the end of the civil war is the highest priority, but since she took office almost two years ago, the predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian country has seen an intensification in fighting with rebels of various ethnic minorities. These minorities are predominantly Christian and Catholic and have been struggling for self-determination under a federal system for decades. Clashes have intensified in recent weeks between the army and the guerrillas in the northern states of Kachinand Shan. Analysts claim that the Burmese army is exploiting the conflict to assert its power from time to time, placing itself as the only institution capable of preventing the disintegration of the country and safeguard the national Buddhist tradition.