Bombs explode in 3 Myanmar cities, wounding 2

AP News
Posted: Jun 24, 2011 7:57 AM
Bombs explode in 3 Myanmar cities, wounding 2

Four bombs exploded in three Myanmar cities Friday, wounding at least two people, the government and residents said.

The perpetrators were not clear, but bombings have increased recently in Myanmar, where pro-democracy activists and ethnic groups are at odds with the military-backed regime.

A government official told The Associated Press that one blast occurred in a house near a market in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, not far from a zone housing most of the new city's hotels. It is also near the Gems Museum where a mid-year gems emporium will be held on July 1. Such sales normally raise millions of dollars from visiting foreign buyers.

Another explosion, also around noon, occurred near another market in the second-largest city, Mandalay. It destroyed a car and wounded a traffic policeman and another person, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Another bomb exploded in Mandalay at about 3 p.m., just three blocks away, but causing no injuries.

About 20 miles (30 kilometers) to the north, a third explosion hit the town of Pyinoolwin, home to a defense academy, a resident reached by phone there said. The blast appeared to originate in an unoccupied house.

The government had blamed ethnic Karen rebels for a bombing in Naypyitaw this month and a May train attack near the capital that killed two and injured nine.

Although Myanmar has faced armed rebellions for decades from ethnic minority groups, bombings are relatively rare and generally no one takes responsibility.

Myanmar, under military rule since 1962, held its first elections in 20 years last November. The new government, comprising mostly retired military officers, has promised democratic reforms but made no major gestures in that direction. Critics say the vote was orchestrated to keep power in the military's hands.