Tuesday, January 15, 2008

KNU and Regime Trade Charges Over Bomb Attacks

By Wai Moe
The Irrawaddy News
January 14, 2008

The Burmese regime and the Karen National Union (KNU) have traded accusations of responsibility for three bomb attacks over the past three days.

Two people died and several were injured in the attacks in Rangoon, Naypyidaw and Pyu in Pegu Division.

In separate reports on the attacks, the regime’s mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, blamed “terrorist saboteurs” from abroad and a KNU “insurgent.” It said the accused “insurgent” had died while planting the Pyu bomb.

KNU spokesman David Taw denied the organization had anything to do with the attacks. Only military personnel with experience of explosives could plant such devices, he told The Irrawaddy.

“When something [like this] happens in Burma, they [the junta] accuse dissident groups, such as the KNU, the SSA [Shan State Army-South], the KNPP [Karenni National Progressive Party], based on the Thai-Burmese border,” Taw said.

The junta had been unable to track down those responsible for previous bomb attacks, he said—“then we are easily accused.”

The first bomb exploded last Friday at the main railway station of Naypyidaw, the Burmese capital. One woman died in the blast.

A second bomb exploded on Friday at a football ground in Pyu Township, near the site of a circus.

The third bomb exploded near the ticket office of Rangoon’s main railway station on Sunday. The New Light of Myanmar reported that a 73-year-old woman was injured by the blast, although an eyewitness said at least two people had been hurt.

The New Light Myanmar said: “Terrorist saboteurs have been sent into the nation across the border together with explosives to perpetrate destructive acts under the scheme of a group from abroad.” It did not name the accused group.

In its report on the Pyu bomb, The New Light of Myanmar said: “A KNU insurgent, [aged] about 25, was killed when the bomb he was planting to detonate exploded prematurely. People nearby seized a US-made 0.22 revolver in a holster [and] 20 rounds of ammunition.”

The New Light of Myanmar claimed the dead man was a member of the KNA’s Third Brigade.

The KNU has been fighting for half a century for autonomy for Karen State. It is the only major ethnic rebel group not to have agreed to a ceasefire with the junta.

In May, 2005, a series of bombs exploded in two supermarkets and a convention center in Rangoon, with an official toll of 19 dead and 162 injured. It’s thought that the real toll is higher.

Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan claimed at a Rangoon press conference: that it was “crystal clear” that the perpetrators and the bombs “originated from training conducted with foreign experts at a place in a neighboring country by a world-famous organization of a certain superpower nation.” The “certain superpower nation” was understood to be the US and the “world famous organization” consequently the CIA.

Analysts said the attacks could only have been carried out by well-trained operatives. Some believed that since the ouster of military intelligence chief Gen Khin Nyunt in October 2004, enemies of the junta had been planning to take advantage of internal conflicts and possible security lapses.Rescued Document/Original Link not longer active:

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