Myanmar says bomb caused Yangon hotel blast

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MYANMAR20131016YANGON: Myanmar police said on Tuesday a bomb caused a blast at a luxury Yangon hotel that wounded an American guest, as they questioned several suspects following a series of unexplained explosions.

Officials voiced fears that the incidents could be aimed at derailing democratic reforms as the country prepares to host a major regional sporting event and chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The injured American woman was taken to hospital with wounds to her thigh and her hand after the blast ripped through a guest room at the Traders Hotel in central Yangon on Monday, police said.

“It was a time bomb. It was attached to a clock,” said a police official who visited the scene of the explosion.

Officials said they had detained a 27-year-old man who previously stayed in the hotel room where the blast occurred.


“The man who stayed there before the American family at the Traders Hotel was arrested as a suspect,” a second police official said.

He said the man was detained early on Tuesday in the southeastern state of Mon.

“But it’s still early to say he planted the bomb without further investigation,” the official added.

The wounded guest’s condition was improving, according to police Lt. Gen. Min Aung of the Myanmar Police Force’s intelligence and security department.

“The injured American woman is feeling better,” he said.

“We’re still investigating and it’s an ongoing process. It’s too early to say who is responsible for these acts.”

Military officials and soldiers with sniffer dogs were seen at the Traders Hotel following the blast while shattered glass covered the road outside.

The hotel, part of the Shangri-La group, is located in the heart of Myanmar’s commercial hub. It is popular with foreign tourists and visiting business people.

Police said two other suspects had been detained for questioning in connection with a string of mysterious explosions.

A man and a woman were killed and another person injured in an explosion on Friday at a guesthouse in the town of Taunggu, about 65 kilometers from the capital Naypyidaw, police said.

Two other devices exploded in Yangon on Sunday—one at a bus stop and another under a truck, which wounded two teenagers, according to authorities.

Two more makeshift devices were found in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay on Monday while two blasts were reported on Tuesday at a restaurant and near a pagoda in the northwestern region of Sagaing.

AFP

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