2 blasts strike Myanmar’s biggest city

5 03 2009
source: Associated press
March 3rd 2009

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Two explosions shook parks near busy thoroughfares in military-ruled Myanmar’s largest city Tuesday night. An official said there were no casualties although onlookers saw one man being led to an ambulance.

The official said it was not immediately clear what caused the blasts in Yangon. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information.

Security personnel rushed to the sites of both blasts and blocked off one road, while soldiers and police stopped and searched vehicles along another main thoroughfare that passes by the sites of both explosions.

The was no immediate comment from the ruling junta — standard practice in the tightly controlled nation where almost all government comment is released through state-run media.

Witnesses said the first blast took place at about 9:40 p.m. at a small park in western Yangon near Myeinigone junction, a busy area with a bus terminal.

The explosion could be heard several blocks away and witnesses saw smoke rising from the scene. Police and soldiers arrived with bomb-sniffing dogs, and onlookers saw a man being walked to an ambulance.

The official said no one was injured.

The witnesses said the second blast, shortly after 11 p.m., occurred by a bus stop next to another park at Kamayut junction, another busy thoroughfare. Several truckloads of solders were quickly deployed to the area.

Terrorism is rare but not unknown in Myanmar, which has been under near-continuous military rule since 1962. Several small bombings occurred in Yangon last year, injuring about a dozen people.

The government usually blames bombings on its political opponents or ethnic rebel groups seeking autonomy. The groups deny carrying out such activities.

The deadliest such attack in recent years took place May 7, 2005, when three bombs went off almost simultaneously at two upscale supermarkets and a convention center in Yangon, killing about two dozen people and injuring more than 160 others. The perpetrators remain unknown.

In recent years, bomb explosions have also been reported in other parts of the country, notably at transport terminals and on buses, the most-used form of transportation.

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