A bomb blast and a series of shootings in a border town between Myanmar and China left two people dead and at least nine injured, rescue workers and residents said on Tuesday.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Muse, Myanmar’s main gateway to China, home to several militias vying for control of lucrative casinos and drug trafficking.
A woman died and five people were injured in a bomb attack on a police station on Monday, said a local NGO worker who requested anonymity.
Later that night, the police station was attacked “with light and heavy weapons”, the worker said, killing another person and injuring four.
A member of a voluntary rescue group who helped transport people to hospital confirmed the two deaths but raised the number of injured, saying six people, including five militia members, were injured in the bombing and five others injured in the attack on the police station. .
Another drive-by shooting on Tuesday morning injured two other suspected militia members, both the NGO worker and the rescuer said.
Local media also reported the attacks.
A police spokesperson for the area could not be reached for comment.
Muse is home to several militias controlled by Myanmar’s military, which has an agreement with China not to station troops along the border.
The military uses militias as proxies in a long-running conflict with rebel ethnic groups operating in the region, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) .
TNLA spokesman Major Tar Aik Kyaw told AFP his group was not involved in the Muse attacks.
Violence has skyrocketed across Myanmar since an army coup last year, with the junta waging a bloody crackdown on dissent in addition to its long-running clashes with ethnic groups.
Muse is on its way to an $8.9 billion high-speed rail link project between China’s landlocked Yunnan province and Myanmar’s west coast, as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
But the area is awash with weapons and a meth production hub as armed rebels and militias scramble for a slice of any potential windfall.
In 2018, two Chinese nationals were among 19 people killed when ethnic rebels attacked security force posts and a casino near Muse.