At least eight people have been reported killed following two explosions inside Myanmar’s high-security Insein Prison, according to media reports.
The BBC’s Burmese-language news service reported that two parcel bombs had detonated on Wednesday morning, killing three prison staff and five visitors and injuring at least another 10 people as the explosions ripped through the prison’s mail room.
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Local news organisations Myanmar Now and Khit Thit Media also reported that eight people were killed and 15 injured.
According to Myanmar Now, one of the bombs exploded in a building where staff receive care packages for prisoners and another detonated outside the building.
Bomb blasts, gunfire at Myanmar’s biggest prison kills eight, including guards
Prison staff and civilians are reportedly among those killed after shots are allegedly fired from a watchtower at Yangon’s Insein Prison following a parcel bomb attack
— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) October 19, 2022
Khit Thit media, citing a statement from the country’s military, also reported that several shots were fired by the prison’s military personnel after the blast and that some of the people wounded had sustained gunshot wounds.
Myanmar Now cited a witness who said that, following the explosion, gunfire from a watchtower caused people to scatter.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Khit Thit.
Insein is the country’s largest prison with some 10,000 inmates, many of whom are political detainees.
Several foreigners are also held at the prison, including Japanese journalist Toru Kubota, who was jailed for 10 years after being arrested at an anti-coup protest.
Former UK Ambassador to Myanmar Vicky Bowman is serving a one-year sentence at Insein for failing to declare she was living at an address different from the one listed on her foreigner registration certificate.
According to the BBC, the 100-year-old prison on the outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon is heavily guarded and is notorious for the ill-treatment of prisoners and reports of torture.
More than 2,200 people have been killed and 15,000 arrested in the military’s crackdown on dissent since a February 2021 coup in Myanmar that removed the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested when the military seized power, has since been charged with multiple crimes and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her trials are ongoing.