Friday, January 11, 2008

Explosion Reported in Myanmar Capital

[Source - AP]
2 hours ago

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — An explosion in the capital of military-ruled Myanmar killed one woman Friday morning, a government official said.

The official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to release information, said the explosion took place in a bathroom at the railway station in Naypyitaw at around 4:20 a.m.

He had no further details, and it was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a bomb. There were no immediate claims of responsibility and the government has not yet blamed any group.

Terrorism is rare but not unknown in Myanmar, which has been under military rule virtually continuously since 1962. The country experienced extreme political turmoil last September, when the government crushed non-violent, pro-democracy demonstration, detaining thousands and killing 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 of the country, 250 miles to the north of Yangon, the country's former capital and biggest city. It became the country's new administrative capital — and main military stronghold — in November 2005, and is well-guarded.

The most deadly terrorist incident in recent years in Myanmar took place on May 7, 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.

In that case as well as several other smaller bombings, the government blamed political opponents and ethnic rebels, though no firm evidence was ever produced. Government opponents deny carrying out attacks on civilians.


Bomb explodes in Myanmar’s new capital, woman dies

[source - Merinews]
Kumar Sarkar
11 January 2008, Friday

A BOMB exploded in Myanmar’s new jungle capital Nay Pyi Taw for the first time, killing a woman. The new capital hidden behind dense woods, deep inside Myanmar, has an overpowering blanket of security, and there have been no reports of a security breach after the military junta began governing the country from there, reports in the Myanmar media in exile said.

The ruling junta constructed the new capital in November 2005, and shifted its administrative offices in phases.

The blast was triggered at about 4:30 a.m. (local time) in the toilet of the Nay Pyi Taw railway station, killing a woman on the spot, who was inside. Railway officials were quoted as saying on condition of anonymity.

The toilet was badly damaged. Security in the railway station and the capital was beefed up soon after the blast. Train schedules, however, have not been changed or disrupted.

The body was identified as that of a woman of Karen ethnicity at the Pyinmana hospital; a nurse, who again, requested anonymity, was quoted as saying. The body is being sent for autopsy.

The Nay Pyi Taw police have launched an investigation to figure out whose hand was behind the bomb explosion.

Myanmar has to contend with innumerable rebel groups of many ethnicities, some of which have ceasefire pacts with the repressive military regime.

Dissident activity, an old feature in Myanmar has surfaced afresh after the junta ruthlessly crushed an uprising by monks, students and the people in September 2007. An undisclosed number of monks and people were killed by security forces and thousands arrested. The junta has put the death toll at just 10.

There have been sporadic bomb explosions in Myanmar, and there are regular firefights between the Burmese Army and the different rebel groups. But this is the first time that a bomb has gone off in the heavily fortified new capital. The junta, which is quick to blame the opposition for dissident activity, has so far been strangely quiet.