MMA fighter who challenged coup leader has been arrested in Myanmar

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A popular mixed martial arts fighter who joined anti-coup protests in Myanmar has been wounded by a homemade bomb and later arrested following an alleged blast.

The military’s Myawaddy TV reported on Thursday that the mixed martial arts fighter, Phoe Thaw,  was arrested in hospital while receiving treatment for leg wounds sustained while allegedly testing a homemade bomb late on Wednesday at a Yangon gym.

Security forces claimed to have found bomb-making materials, arms, and ammunition when they searched the gym. He was among four people detained and accused of colluding to commit violent acts, it said.

Phoe Thaw is well-known in Myanmar and was caught on camera during the protests holding a sign that challenged coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing, to a cage fight.

Images on Myawaddy TV on Thursday showed him on a stretcher, his legs covered in wounds and burns.

A former colleague, who spoke to the Reuters news agency on the condition of anonymity, said the homemade bomb had been left at the gym car park by a policeman posing as a civilian.

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