Bombs explode in 3 Myanmar cities, wounding 2

By the Associated Press | June 24, 2011 | 5:44 AM EDT

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Bombs exploded almost simultaneously in three Myanmar cities Friday, wounding at least two people, the government and residents said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attacks, but bombings have become increasingly frequent in Myanmar, where pro-democracy activists and ethnic groups are at odds with the military-backed regime.

A government official told The Associated Press that one blast hit near a market in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, not far from a zone housing most of the new city's hotels.

Another explosion occurred near another market in the country's second-largest city, Mandalay. It destroyed a car and wounded a traffic policeman and another person, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

About 20 miles (30 kilometers) to the north, a third explosion hit the town of Pyinoolwin, home to a defense academy, a resident reached by phone there said.

There was no claim of responsibility. The government had blamed ethnic Karen rebels for a bombing in Naypyitaw this month and a May train attack near the capital that killed two and injured nine.

Myanmar, under military rule since 1962, held its first elections in 20 years last November. The new government, comprising mostly retired military officers, has promised democratic reforms but made no major gestures in that direction. Critics say the vote was orchestrated to keep power in the military's hands.