BANGKOK, April 2, 2004�A time bomb exploded Friday outside a Russian restaurant in the Lao capital, Vientiane, but the blast caused no deaths or injuries, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

A bomb planted under a Toyota pickup truck exploded around 8 p.m. local time in the parking lot of a Russian restaurant, Katusha�s, located next to the Xieng Nhun pagoda along the Mekong River, Lao sources told RFA�s Lao service. The truck sustained minor damage and the blast caused no injuries, although passersby were alarmed by the sound of the blast.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. Lao authorities said soon after the blast that they suspected �bad elements� of planting the bomb-a term often used to denote troublemakers aiming to undermine the Lao government, notably ahead of the Lao New Year beginning April 13.

The last explosion in Vientiane occurred Feb. 4, when a bomb went off near the Patouxay monument in Vientiane. No casualties were reported. A Lao official who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity said it was a time-bomb explosion, which came during a high-profile meeting in Vientiane of tourism ministers and officials from ASEAN countries along with China, Japan, and South Korea.

Two official Lao newspapers later quoted Lao security officials as saying the noise had been caused by firecrackers set off by delinquent children.#####


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.