It is unknown what the factory produces, or why the explosion occurred, but locals say the facility is owned by the UWSA.
An explosion at a factory in Mong Mao—in the Wa Self-Administered Division’s Hopang District—on Saturday has led to an unknown number of casualties and caused damage to nearby homes.
The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. and was confirmed by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which controls the area.
“Gunpowder was used in the explosion of a stone wall. It’s still unclear why the explosion occurred. There were some casualties in the blast. The respective authorities are investigating this case,” Nyi Rang, who is in charge of the UWSA’s external relations department, told Golden Triangle Media.
Seng Pao, a local who lives in Mong Mao, told SHAN that smoke preceded the explosion.
“I think half of the ward is damaged. It was a very strong explosion,” he said, alleging that the factory is owned by the UWSA, but did not know what the facility produces. “Soldiers used to safeguard the factory. No civilian is permitted to enter it,” he explained.
The UWSA is preparing to hold the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of a ceasefire with the Burmese government in its Panghsang headquarters—200 kilometers from Mong Mao—this April.