December 18, 2009 / 4:56 AM / 11 years ago

Seven killed, 11 injured in Myanmar bombing

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Seven people were killed and 11 injured when a bomb exploded in southeastern Myanmar, official media reported on Friday, blaming ethnic Karen separatists for the attack.

The bomb went off late on Wednesday during New Year celebrations in Phapon, a town in Kayin State, which is predominantly Karen and is about 190 km (120 miles) northeast of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon.

“It is learnt that the time bomb was planted by KNU (Karen National Union) terrorist insurgent group,” state-controlled newspapers said.

The reports did not give details or evidence to show the KNU was responsible. Small blasts in public places, including markets and Buddhist temples, are fairly common in Myanmar and the ruling military government often blames KNU guerrillas.

The KNU is one of the biggest of the ethnic groups that have been fighting against the government for greater autonomy since independence from Britain in 1948.

The current junta has reached cease-fire agreements with 17 ethnic groups and at least six splinter groups of the KNU since it came to power in 1988. However, peace talks with the mainstream KNU have so far failed.

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Martin Petty

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