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Burma is set to enact new anti-terror legislation in the next few months, Burma’s police chief told reporters yesterday following the arrest of a suspect in connection with the Rangoon bombings.
Few details of the laws were revealed by Khin Yi, and indeed most ‘enemies of the state’ are tried on spurious and unrelated charges, such as the Electronics Act.
Three bombs exploded at the ‘Thingyan’ new year water festival in Rangoon on 15 April, killing nine, and injuring senior police officer, Colonel Ohn Cho. The explosions happened at the X20 pavilion, where it is reported that Burmese junta chief Than Shwe’s grandson had been minutes prior.
The Thingyan bombers were said by the police to be former 88 Generation students, allegedly part of group called the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors. Police claim that they were close to the opposition All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), led an individual called Ye Tiha.
A source from the ABSDF, which formed in 1988, however strenuously denied the allegations.
One suspect, labelled by Khin Yi as a “terrorist murderer”, has been arrested; Khin Yi reportedly presented evidence to support the arrest. The police chief also said that the bombings had been an attempt to “disrupt” this year’s proposed elections. Police are believed to be working undercover to track more of the culprits.
He alleged that the bombing had been planned in December 2009 in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, where many Burmese exiles reside.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that one journalist, U Ko Ko of the Yangon Media Group, “thanked MPF [Myanmar Police Force] on behalf of those who died or wounded in the blast and the entire people, MPF felt so much encouraged. It will continue to discharge duties with might and main with public support.”
Several bombs also exploded in eastern Karenni state on 14 April and Kachin state on the 17 April at major hydropower projects, which are seen as highly controversial by ethnic groups and NGO’s.