Sun, Dec 26, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Bus bomb explodes in Myanmar

AFP , YANGON

A bomb has exploded in military-run Myanmar, killing a student and wounding three others at a sporting goods shop in the eastern city of Hpa-an, state media reported yesterday.

The blast came after a militant student group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombing of a Yangon restaurant and warned of further attacks unless pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.

Sa Aung Myo Myat, a 21-year-old university student in eastern Kayin State, died Friday when he pushed a button on a cassette player which triggered the explosion, the New Light of Myanmar reported on its website.

Three teenagers were wounded in the explosion, the official newspaper reported.

It said the tape deck had been left on a passenger bus ridden by the young men, and when the bus conductor noticed it he got off and approached them at a sports shop to see if it belonged to them.

Sa Aung Myo Myat was examining the device when it blew up.

"The authorities concerned are making investigations to expose and arrest the destructionist bombers," the New Light reported.

On Thursday, the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors -- which was behind an embassy hostage drama in Bangkok five years ago -- sent a statement to AFP claiming responsibility for the Yangon bombing and said more would follow unless its demands were met.

The group called for the "immediate release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi" and demanded the military government "hand over the state power to National League for Democracy" (NLD) which won a landslide victory in a 1990 general election.

The group is a small band of Myanmar anti-junta students, who in 1999 stormed Myanmar's Bangkok embassy. It seized 38 hostages and demanded the release of all political prisoners including the opposition leader.

The five gunmen released the hostages and were freed after being taken by helicopter to the Thai-Myanmar border in a deal with the Thai authorities.

Aung San Suu Kyi condemned the embassy raid and has spoken out against violent acts aimed at political reform, while her NLD party on Friday condemned Tuesday's restaurant bombing as a "terrorist" act.

The Hpa-an blast was the fifth to strike Yangon this year.

The junta has blamed three bombings in June on a pro-democracy-linked "terrorist" who was allegedly trying to disrupt a controversial meeting reworking the country's constitution.

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