Yangon Blast in Burma Injures One AmericanBy: Brian Powell - October 15, 2013
Since its transition from a military junta to a quasi-civilian democracy in 2011, Burma has seen fewer explosions. However, a recent string of bombings has authorities and the government wondering who is upset, and why.
Shortly before midnight on Monday, the Traders Hotel in Yangon, Burma’s main city, was subject to an explosion from a homemade bomb. The bomb exploded in the 9th floor room of an American family. One woman was injured in the accident and was taken to a nearby hospital. Her husband and children were uninjured by the explosion.
Unfortunately, this is not the only reported explosion around Yangon in the past week. On Friday, a bomb went off at a guesthouse in Taungoo, 125 miles away from Yangon. Two people were supposedly killed in this accident. Two more bombs were reported on Sunday, one attached to a truck and another at a bus stop. There were three reported injuries and no casualties.
Following the explosion at the hotel late Monday night, there were two more explosions. One was in a hotel parking lot in the Sagaing region, and the other occurred at a local pagoda.
As it currently stands, police do not know who is behind the bombings or why they are committing the acts of violence. Police do believe that the same group or organization is behind the attacks, seeing as all the bombs are of the same type.
Since President Thein Sein took power in 2011, his administration has attempted to liberalize both the economic and political spheres, advocating for freer business policies, reduced censorship, and the freeing of political prisoners.
These attempts at governmental reform have been met by some backlash from militant groups. Most of the violence lately, though, has stemmed from sectarian violence, with the majority Buddhists groups attacking the minority Muslims. The slaughtering of hundreds of Muslims has brought international condemnation to the country.
Despite the sectarian violence, Burma continues to progress as a country. The country is hosting the Southeast Asian Games in December, and some authorities believe the attacks may be an attempt to create chaos before Burma hosts its most impressive event as a country. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed in 2011 when the military junta ceased, stated that she believes the attacks are being conducted to induce panic amongst the Burmese: “But the people should be cautious not to fall into the trap,” she stated.
Spokesman for the president, Ye Htut, believes that the attacks are meant to reduce confidence in the Burmese government, which is about to assume chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): “It must have been carried out to create worries and concerns among the people and to make the international community doubt the security standard in Myanmar at a time when Myanmar is going to take the ASEAN chair.”
Whatever the reason, Burma needs to crack down on the violence soon if it hopes to eventually rid itself of the sanctions placed on it by the United States due to continuing human rights concerns.
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