Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bomb kills ethnic Karen rebel, injures 4 civilians in Myanmar, state media reports

YANGON, Myanmar: A bomb exploded during a circus show in northern Myanmar, injuring four civilians and killing the Karen rebel who allegedly planted the explosive, state media reported Sunday.

The bomb was detonated Friday evening in rural Pyu township, killing a 25-year-old member of the Karen National Union who allegedly set it off, the New Light of Myanmar reported.

The explosive device wounded four others, including a 4-year-old boy, the paper said.

The report said a revolver, 20 rounds of ammunition and two other explosive were found on the dead man's body.

A suspect, who was arrested as he tried to leave the scene, said the victim was a member of the KNU, the paper said.

The KNU has been fighting for half a century for greater autonomy from Myanmar's military government. It is the only major ethnic rebel group not to have agreed to a cease-fire with Myanmar's junta

Early Friday, another bomb exploded at a railway station in the new administrative capital of Naypyitaw, killing a 40-year-old ethnic Karen woman.

Investigators said the woman set off the bomb, the paper reported. The report said traces of gunpowder were found on the clothes in her luggage.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for either bombing.

The state-run paper said a major organization "provided terrorists with cash and equipment to create public panic and to carry out bombings in the country with the intention to destabilize the country."

It did not name any group or organization.

Authorities have recently warned the public to be vigilant against terrorists and to cooperate with officials by informing them of suspicious activities and turning in the suspects.

Terrorism is rare but not unknown in Myanmar, which has been under military rule almost continuously since 1962.

The country underwent extreme political turmoil in September, when the government crushed nonviolent, pro-democracy demonstrations, detained thousands and killed at least 31 people, according to a U.N. investigator, whose tally was twice the toll acknowledged by the junta.

The government often blames political opponents and ethnic rebels for bombings, though no firm evidence has been produced. Government opponents deny carrying out attacks on civilians.

Pyu is about 192 kilometers (120 miles) north of Yangon.

Source: AP - IHT

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