Four Killed, 40 Injured in Bomb Blast at Karen Festival

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Four people were killed and about 40 people injured when a bomb exploded at a festival on Jan. 7 in Anan Kwin village in Kyar Inn Seik Gyi Township, southern Karen State, according to Karen sources.

A local Karen Buddhist monk said the bomb blew up at 11 pm in a restaurant at a corner of the street where a stage theater was taking place. He said a large audience had gathered to watch the show.

“It killed four people, including two young women,” he said.

No group has taken responsibility for the blast, and there were no details about the type of device used.

“Many people are angry about this incident,” said a local taxi driver who requested anonymity. “They say that if the government troops and Karen armed groups want to fight, they should go ahead—but not target civilians.”

Anan Kwin is under the control of Military Operations Command (MOC) No. 19 of the Burmese armed forces' Southeast Military Command based in Moulmein.

Since Saturday's explosion, MOC No. 19 has blocked all roads in and out of the village, and is questioning locals and drivers. The road block has halted traffic between Three Pagodas Pass and Thanbyuzayat Township.

The festival takes place in Anan at this time every year, and is a popular event on the local calender.

The blast comes amid peace talks between the rebel Karen National Union and the Burmese government.