01/17/2008, 00.00
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After several blasts hit civilians, suspicions fall on Burmese junta

With yesterday’s, the number of bombings now stands at four in six days. The junta points the finger at Karen rebels but so far no one has claimed responsibility. For Myanmar experts bombings are an old method used by the generals to justify tighter controls and increased repression. Meanwhile unrest in population continues as the UN and EU envoys become the butt of jokes.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – “It is the usual strategy used by the military regime, an old trick employed for decades to justify greater controls and more repression,” said Burmese experts who talked to AsiaNews about a series of bombings that hit Myanmar since the start of the month and which the ruling junta has tried to pin on rebel groups.

The latest explosion tore through a bus travelling on a road that links Mandalay to Yangon killing the driver. It is fourth of its kind since Friday.

State-controlled media have blamed the separatist Karen National Union (KNU) and their foreign supporters.

The bus in fact was travelling to Yangon from Kyaukyi, a town in a Karen-inhabited region.

For the past fifty years the Karen separatist movement has fought for independence and has recently charged the military regime with ‘genocide’ against Karen civilians.

The KNU is also the only major ethnic rebel group that has not agreed to a cease-fire with the junta.

“There are many angry people in Myanmar,” said an anonymous diplomat. “But there is a tradition of co-ordinated attacks like the last one. The question is who benefits.”

Analysts in the north of the country who asked that their names not be mentioned told AsiaNews that the government has the greatest interest in this kind of violence.

“It is not the first time” for such actions. “It is a method used for decades. When tensions are high on the home front, the authorities carry out incidents of this kind to justify tighter security measures, that is a more intense crackdown on dissent.”

Many in the population agree, “tired of the government’s lies” and abuses after it violently crushed protests by Buddhist monks.

“Unrest is growing and no one believes what official media report,” some merchants in Yangon said. “Even some monks have cautiously begun preaching against the government; not directly but with words that have double meanings. And UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and EU representative Piero Fassino have become the butt of jokes because in spite of all their trips and meetings they have failed to take home any concrete result.”

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See also
Beijing to EU: no to pressure on Burmese Junta
Burmese junta prevents Christians and Buddhists from providing help, increasing censorship
Generals end curfew, not repression
Junta “eliminating” soldiers who fired on monks
Despite more arrests monks take to the streets


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