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Deadly gunfight erupts after Myanmar junta convoy hit by roadside bomb

This handout taken on September 10, 2021 and received courtesy of an anonymous source on September 18 shows people watching as houses burn in Namg Kar village in Magwe region's Gangaw township, as fighting continues between the Myanmar military and dissidents. (Photo by AFP)

A roadside bomb attack has targeted a convoy of Myanmar’s ruling military forces near Yangon, with several people being killed in an ensuing gunfight, the military and media said.

"Both groups fired back and forth -- a member of the security forces was injured," the junta said in a statement on Saturday. "Some terrorists were... (killed), one of them was wounded," it said, referring to dissidents who have taken up arms against the ruling junta.

The dissidents' firearms and ammunition were confiscated after the clashes, according to the statement.

A convoy of security forces was traveling through Khayan, a suburb of Yangon on Friday when an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up on route.

Local media reported at least two dissidents were killed and one arrested by the junta forces.

Various townships across Myanmar have formed so-called "people defense forces" to fight back against the military rulers.

Myanmar has been in a state of emergency after civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was overthrown in a military coup in February.

The coup and the ouster of Suu Kyi's elected government triggered mass pro-democracy protests. The junta has responded with a bloody crackdown.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has promised to hold elections in two years’ time.

Myanmar's shadow authority has called for an uprising against the ruling junta.

The "National Unity Government," made up mostly of lawmakers affiliated with Suu Kyi's ousted party, has called for a "people's defensive war" and urged civilians to target junta assets.

Since the junta takeover, the country’s economy has collapsed, and a new exodus of refugees has fled the country's economic hardships.

In the Sagaing and Magway regions, locals this week accused the military of burning down homes and displacing thousands.

"The military has been crushing our region because of the local resistance forces," a 25-year-old woman from Magway's Gangaw township told media. "I lost some of my friends... I am heartbroken because I had witnessed all their atrocities with my own eyes."

Myanmar's military forces are also responsible for the Rohingya genocide in August 2017.

Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted and forced to leave their homeland of the Western Rakhine state.

The bloody military campaign in 2017 alone sent some 740,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border into neighboring Bangladesh, carrying accounts of rape, mass killings, and arson attacks.

International efforts to find a solution to continuous crises in Myanmar have so far ended inconclusively.

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