Saturday, January 12, 2008

Myanmar's ruling junta warns public to be vigilant after bomb blast kills woman

YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar's ruling junta warned the public to be vigilant and report suspicious activities following a bombing that killed one woman in the capital, state-run media said Saturday.

A bomb exploded at a railway station in Naypyitaw early Friday, killing a 40-year-old ethnic Karen woman, the Myanmar Ahlin daily reported.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. The government has not blamed any group, but the news report said terrorists were smuggling explosives into the country to carry out bombings.

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

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.

Naypyitaw is in a remote area 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Yangon, the country's old capital and biggest city. It became the country's new administrative capital and main military stronghold in November 2005 and is heavily guarded.

The most deadly terrorist incident in recent years in Myanmar took place in May 2005, when three bombs went off almost simultaneously at two upscale supermarkets and a convention center in Yangon. About two dozen people were killed and another 162 injured.

Several small bombings occurred in the country last year, causing minor damage and injuries.

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

Myanmar's military government recently warned that such groups were planning more bombings in major cities.

Source: International Herald Tribune

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