Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Burma blast victim ex-monk making bombs

File photo shows people waiting for a bus in Yangon. A man killed in a blast in Myanmar's biggest city Yangon was a former monk who accidentally blew himself up while trying to build a bomb, state media reported Tuesday. He was a suspect in a bus stop bombing in downtown Yangon last month which injured seven people (AFP/File/Khin Maung Win).

Myanmar blast victim was ex-monk turned bombmaker: state media
BURMA, 10/21/08 -- The junta-run [unabashedly pro-propaganda] New Light of Myanmar newspaper published a graphic picture of the headless body of a man they said was Thet Oo Win, also a suspect in a bus stop bombing in downtown Yangon last month which injured seven people.

Thet Oo Win was killed Sunday at a house in northern Yangon, in the latest in a series of small explosions in military-run Myanmar. "According to the items found at the scene, injuries and the way he lost his life, it is learned that the blast occurred when Thet Oo Win was improvising the bomb," the paper said. It said authorities seized wires, batteries and detonators from the house.

The New Light of Myanmar accused Thet Oo Win of illegally fleeing across the border to Thailand after massive anti-junta protests led by monks in September 2007, and returning to Myanmar 10 days ago. It said he had once been a Buddhist monk who "then lived as a layman and...was a drinker," but gave no other motive for his alleged actions.

Sunday's blast came after another small explosion Saturday near a football pitch in Yangon which caused minor damage but no injuries. Myanmar also experienced four bomb blasts last month, one of which injured seven people at a bus stop near Yangon's City Hall. The New Light of Myanmar said materials found at Thet Oo Win's house matched those used in the bus stop bombing.

Myanmar's junta has in the past blamed explosions on armed exile groups or ethnic rebels who have been battling the military rulers for decades, but the regime has also started pointing the finger at democracy activists. State-run media in September accused two members of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) of bombing pro-government offices in July.

The NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the junta never allowed it to take office and Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest almost constantly since. The military has ruled Myanmar since 1962, partly justifying its grip on power by claiming the need to fend off ethnic rebellions.

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