Karen man charged in connection with Taungoo bombing

Karen man charged in connection with Taungoo bombing

A police officer from Taungoo township in Pegu division has told DVB that a 34-year-old suspect was arrested on Monday in connection with a bombing in the town last month.

The police officer said that Saw Htun Htun, an ethnic Karen resident of nearby Kyaukkyi, was detained on 18 November with assistance from Karen National Union (KNU) officials in the town.

“[Saw Htun Htun] was detained around 8:45 in the evening on 18 November – the arrest was carried out by the police who were assisted by the KNU [Karen National Union] in the investigation. The suspect has vowed to confess to the bombing at his trial,” he said.

A local news reporter in Taungoo said Saw Htun Htun confessed on Wednesday morning and was subsequently charged under the Explosives Act.

“He told police that he travelled to Taungoo via bus from Penwegon [a town 70 km south of Taungoo] on 9 October,” the reporter told DVB. “He said he rented a room at the Chan Myae guesthouse, and planted the bomb behind the curtain above the bed on the morning of 10 October before leaving town.

“He re-constructed the events for the police and showed them exactly where he planted the bomb.”

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However, KNU Secretary Pado Kwe Htoo Win told DVB that the investigation report on this case is yet to be released, and that he believes that Saw Htun Htun is an innocent victim.

“As far as I know, Saw Htun Htun is just a rural villager and he did not commit any crime,” he said. “He was scared to return home after hearing that his name was on a list of suspects; but he is just an ordinary villager who makes a living cutting firewood in the forest.”

Two people were killed and one was injured in the bombing at Chan Myae guesthouse in Taungoo on 11 October.

The Taungoo bombing was just one of a spate of attacks that took place within a week; other bombs exploded or were detonated in Rangoon, Mandalay, Sagaing and Namhkam.

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