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KIA attack blamed for loss of electricity in Rangoon

(Mizzima) - A decrease in electrical power in Rangoon on Saturday was caused by an explosion at four electrical towers on the national power grid. The government said the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was responsible for the attack.

This picture taken on May 12, 2012, shows a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier looking through binoculars at positions of the Burmese army from an outpost some 12 kilometers south of Laiza, a KIA-controlled stronghold in northern Kachin State on the border with China. Photo:  AFP Fours electrical towers were damaged on Saturday on the 230-KV Shweli-Mansan section of the grid in Shan State, according to state-run media.

The explosion struck the power grid between Ruili and Mansan, which is about 48 kilometers from Lashio in northern Shan state, said reports.

In June 2011,  bomb blast occurred near a branch of the Mansan power plant.

Power in Rangoon was reduced to 200 megawatts after the attacks, said the government. Rangoon’s Alone Electricity Supply Board said on Saturday that the power supply to Rangoon’s industrial zones would be cut off starting Saturday and an alternative supply provided at six-hour intervals will be made to townships in Rangoon beginning Monday.

The attacks on the power grid come as the latest series of attacks on non-military targets during stalled peace talks between the government's peacemaking group and the KIA.

Although three rounds of peace talks have been held in the China border town of Ruili, the fighting between the two sides shows no sign of decreasing.

In late April, the KIA was blamed for blowing up a section of a passenger train on the Mandalay-Myitkyina rail route in Kachin, derailing eight coaches.

In early May, the KIA launched more mine attacks destroying a number of rail tracks and nine sleepers on the Myikyina-Mandalay railroad and blowing up three bridges in the state in a series of clashes with the government forces.

The three bridges included the Dunban Bridge on the Myitgyina-Chepwe road, a concrete bridge on the Waingmaw-Hsadon-Kanpaikti road and a “Bailey bridge” near Warazut village on the Myitgyina-Tanaing road. A Bailey bridge is a type of portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge developed by the British during World War II for military use.
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2012 13:01 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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