Is a superpower behind Yangon's triple bombings?

Updated On: May 17, 2005

Yangon – As conspiracy theories continue to fly thick and fast over the triple bombings in the Myanmar capital on May 7, the ruling junta has come up with one of its own: The operation was funded by a “world-famous organisation”.  

    Myanmar Information Minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan said on May 15 that the explosives used in the bombings – known as RDX – could have only be produced by “superpower  nations”.  
    “The RDX cannot be produced in Myanmar, and it is not available in the country. It can only be produced by superpower nations for use by their militaries… RDX is found in a neighbouring country,” he said without elaborating.
    BG Kyaw Hsan added that foreign-trained “terrorists” took part in the bombings and a “world-famous organisation” gave US$100,000 to the operation. 
    He also included three more political and student groups to the list of ethnic rebel and pro-democracy organisations the Myanmar junta blames for the attacks: The National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas, the Democratic Party for a New Society, and the All Burma Students Democratic Front.  
     Even though BG Kyaw Hsan refused to name the suspected country and organisation, correspondents believe he was referring to the United States and the CIA, reported the BBC. 
    The minister’s thinly-veiled hint of American involvement came amid suggestions that disgruntled elements within Myanmar’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) itself were responsible for the unprecedented blasts in Yangon.
     In a commentary published in the Bangkok Post, analyst Toe Zaw Latt said: “There is only one organisation capable of carrying out such an act in Rangoon, and that is the SPDC. The only possible culprits must be present or retired army personnel – because of their skills, access and familiarity with the targets.”  
    Toe, a research associate with Burma Fund, a Washington-based think-tank, said the SPDC stands to benefit from the bombings in several ways, such as providing it with a  justification to step up security and political controls in all urban centres.  
    “The SPDC can also provide a rationale to defer and delay all important political processes, including its own road map to democracy and perhaps, even decline to hold the Asean chairmanship (in 2006) by citing security problems.” 
    Toe suggested that the governments of Thailand and South Korea, whose citizens were injured in the blasts, and the United States should begin their own investigations and share their findings with the international community. 
    “That way, we can know whose interests the bomb blasts have really served,” Toe said.

* ‘Military explosives used in Yangon blasts’ (The Straits Times, May 16)

* Only junta has capacity for such careful planning (Bangkok Post, May 13)