Three dead in Myanmar explosion

At least three people died in an explosion in Myanmar's Shan state, police said Tuesday, in a part of the country where a tentative ceasefire exists between ethnic rebels and the army.

"Three people were killed and two others wounded in a blast this afternoon in Kong Long township in northern Shan state," police Colonel Min Aung at national police headquarters told AFP, without confirming that the explosion was caused by a bomb.

"We are still investigating," he added.

Myanmar was rattled by a series of mysterious bomb attacks in October.

Three people died in an attack in Shan state in the country's east, after a bomb planted in a high-end hotel in Yangon wounded an American citizen.

A lawmaker for the Kong Long constituency said the blast was caused by a "time bomb attached to a mine".

"The explosion was really strong. We heard it very loudly. Glass shattered in some buildings," said Haw Shauk Chan, lower house MP of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, putting the death toll at four.

Bomb blasts were relatively common under the former junta, which usually blamed armed exile groups or ethnic rebels.

But such incidents have been rarer under the new quasi-civilian regime which took power in 2011.

President Thein Sein's government has reached tentative peace deals with major ethnic minority rebel groups as part of political reforms that have led to the lifting of most Western sanctions and prompted an influx of foreign tourists.

Tuesday's explosion comes as Myanmar hosts the Southeast Asian Games in the capital Naypyidaw amid high security, over fears the nation's myriad rebel groups could target the high-profile event.