Bombs aimed at scaring foreign investors away from lucrative areas of country

YANGON – A series of bomb blasts in Myanmar over the past week was intended to scare away foreign investments in the country, authorities said on Friday.

Since Oct 9, there have been at least 10 small explosions or attempted bombings that have killed two people and injured several, including an American woman who sustained minor wounds Monday when a bomb was detonated in her room at the Traders Hotel in Yangon.

Authorities have detained eight suspects, including Saw Myint Lwin who allegedly was linked to the Traders Hotel blast.

“According to testimony of Saw Myint Lwin, Saw Nay Toe from a business group linked to the Karen National Union (KNU) instructed him to explode a bomb in the hotel to scare away foreign investments in the areas controlled by ethnic minority groups,” said Zaw Win, commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Police Force. (Areas controlled by ethnic minority groups in the Eastern region of Myanmar are rich in gold, jade, tin, lead, antimony, fine teak forest and have ideal geography for hydro-power).

Myanmar Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut,  addresses a news conference in Yangon on Friday.

The KNU has been fighting the central government for the autonomy or independence of Karen State for the past six decades.

Numerous development schemes are planned in areas under KNU control in eastern Myanmar, including a hydroelectric dam, roads and the infrastructure to serve the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate.

Representatives of the KNU and Karen National Army signed a ceasefire with the government of President Thein Sein in early 2012.

The Myanmar government, which came to power after the November 2010 polls, has signed similar ceasefire agreements with some 14 insurgent groups since.

“The KNU will cooperate with authorities to clarify and investigate the culprits,” said Ye Htut, deputy information minister and spokesman for President Thein Sein.

He said that the chief suspect behind the bombings, Saw Nay Toe, represented a business group but not the KNU insurgent group itself.

KNU sources, who have denied responsibility for the bombing spree, said they were ready to assist the government in its investigation.

“The KNU has good relations with the Myanmar government and we want to see our region develop,” said Mann Nyein Maung, a KNU central committee member and former political prisoner.

“We will assist the Myanmar authorities in investigating the suspects and we will also investigate our business groups.”

Myanmar was under junta rule between 1988 and 2010, when it was the target of economic sanctions by Western democracies. Most sanctions were dropped last year in response to the political reforms pushed through by Thein Sein since he came to power in March 2011.


Source: Bangkok Post

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