Suicide Blast in Burma

A man detained for questioning stages the seventh known blast in recent weeks.

2010-04-28
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Burma-Blast-305.jpg This handout picture released by Myanmar News Agency on April 16, 2010, shows medical staff using a stretcher to carry an injured child into a hospital in Rangoon, April 15, 2010.
AFP

BANGKOK—A man held at a police station in Burma detonated a bomb Wednesday, killing himself and wounding at least four police officers in the latest in a series of blasts, witnesses said.

A security official said the man had been taken for questioning to a police station in Demawso, in Kayah (Karenni) state, 200 miles (320 kms) northeast of the former capital Rangoon. Why he was detained was unclear.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said the man set off a bomb, but was unable to provide further details, according to Agence France-Presse.

This was the seventh known bombing in recent weeks in military-ruled Burma, whose junta calls the country Myanmar.

The attacks come as the junta prepares for a general election that its opponents have called unfair and undemocratic.

Bombings are rare but not unknown in Burma, which has a long history of internal conflict, especially between the central government and ethnic minorities in border areas seeking greater autonomy.

Opposition to the ruling junta among the public at large remains strong.

Bombings in election run-up

The highest-profile explosions occurred April 15 in Rangoon, the country's biggest city, when three bombs killed as many as 20 people and wounded 170 others during the traditional New Year water festival.

Two days later, 10 mines exploded and several more were found undetonated at the controversial Lawpita hydropower dam project site in Kayah state.

They wounded one person and caused damage to several buildings and six vehicles.

Two separate explosions also occurred on April 13 at checkpoints near the Chinese border and at Kawkareik in Kayin State injuring three people.

An explosion at a district telecommunication office in Kyaikmaraw, in Mon State, about 100 miles (160 kms) southeast of Rangoon on Tuesday wounded three people.

A series of grenade attacks at a hydropower project about 140 miles (225 kms) north of Rangoon, also Tuesday, wounded four workers.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, which the junta has blamed on “terrorists.”

Karenni National Progressive Party (UKNPP) chairperson Khe Bu Phe said that his group was not responsible for the bombing of the Lawpita hydropower plant, despite having claimed responsibility for past bombings of the facility.

"There are lots of people and members of armed groups who are unhappy because their land has been confiscated. It is highly probable that they are responsible for this," he said.

"But we cannot rule out this kind of operation in the future because in war ... both parties hope to try to destroy each others’ facilities. That’s part of the strategy. But I believe this explosion is the work of people who are very dissatisfied with the way they have been treated.”

Original reporting by Kyaw Kyaw Aung for RFA's Burmese service. Burmese service director: Nyein Shwe. Translated by Nyein Shwe. Written for the Web in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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