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3 bomb blasts in east Myanmar, 1 dead

17 October 2013, 15:36

Yangon - Three bombs exploded in eastern Myanmar leaving one person dead, police said on Thursday, the latest in a series of explosions that the United States denounced as "acts of terror".

"There have been three bomb blasts," a police official told AFP, adding that the victim was a municipal worker in Namkham in restive eastern Shan state near the Chinese border.

"We are still investigating," he added.

The region has been shaken in recent years by fighting between the military and ethnic minority rebels.

Western governments have warned travellers to exercise extreme caution in Myanmar after the series of minor bomb blasts, including one at the luxury Traders Hotel in Yangon that injured an American woman.

The United States condemned the attacks, urging the authorities to "proceed with full respect for due process under the rule of law".

"Acts of violence like those perpetrated and attempted over the past week have no place in civilised society, and we are confident in the people of this country to confront such acts of terror with strength, determination and a continued commitment to national peace, development, and reconciliation," the US embassy in Yangon said in a statement.

Officials have said they detained a 27-year-old suspect early on Tuesday in the south-eastern state of Mon. He had previously stayed in the room at the Traders Hotel where the blast occurred.

Police said several other people have been questioned in connection with the series of blasts in Yangon and other cities.

No group has claimed responsibility for the string of blasts, which bore some similarity to explosions seen under the former junta, which usually blamed armed exile groups or ethnic rebels.

The bombings come as Myanmar prepares to host a major regional sporting event in December and chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next year.

The government, which came to power in 2011, has reached tentative peace deals with major ethnic minority rebel groups as part of political reforms that have led to the lifting of most Western sanctions and prompted an influx of foreign tourists.

But the changes have unsettled some regime hardliners and factions in the rebel organisations, according to experts.


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