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Myanmar’s KBZ Bank branches bombed in Mandalay amid surge in anti-military violence

The Myanmar military is running the country despite strong opposition (Photo: IANS)

Seven branches of the KBZ Bank, a private bank in Myanmar, were bombed in Mandalay, the country's former capital, on Thursday night amid a violent surge in violence targeting the military.

A week earlier, a KBZ Bank branch in Yangon was robbed by unknown assailants.

The Myanmar Now website reported that explosions were reported throughout Mandalay’s central area. The reason for the blasts is believed to be an allegation that the bank shared information about its customers with the military government. The military junta running the country had allegedly demanded disclosure from the bank over anti-government activities.

Myanmar Now quotes a local resident as saying: “I think KBZ became a target because it is believed that they have been sharing information about those suspected of donating money to support the revolution, and also freezing accounts used for this purpose".

Neither the Myanmar government released a statement regarding the bombings nor any group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The military government has been pressuring private banks to disclose information in a bid to track down financing of anti-regime activities. A Mandalay-based social welfare organisation has said that many accounts that used the bank’s online payment system to transfer funds to people in the civil disobedience movement have been suspended.

The military had taken over the government in a coup that deposed elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 this year. Since then, Myanmar has been engulfed in a series of protests and even armed resistance against the military junta.

The UN says that over 1,000 people have been killed in the crackdown against pro-democracy workers.

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