Tue 10 May 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
A suspicious object, thought to have been a bomb, was found near a sports stadium in Rangoon on Monday. Since Saturday’s devastating bomb attacks in Rangoon, many scheduled activities that could have drawn large crowds have been cancelled, according to residents.
The object was discovered near a public phone booth at the Aung San Stadium in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township around 1 p.m. Monday. Local residents alerted security forces, who later blocked off nearby roads and ordered people to leave the area, sources said.
“Bomb experts came and took the object away because local police did not want to remove it,” Myint Oo, an eyewitness, told The Irrawaddy by telephone from Rangoon. The local police denied that it was a bomb.
Several events, including two scheduled concerts by the popular Burmese band Emperor, were cancelled in the wake of Saturday’s bombings. Zaw Win Htut, Emperor’s singer, had planned to perform at a fashion show at Yangon [Rangoon] Trade Center-where one of the bombs exploded on Saturday-but narrowly escaped. The trade center blast reportedly killed a young Burmese model from the Arrow Model Agency. Other models were also injured.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Monday warned about 200 Thais living in Rangoon to avoid crowded areas. He added that those planning to visit Burma should be careful because the situation is difficult to forecast.
Hong Sung Wook, First Secretary and Consul of South Korea’s embassy in Rangoon, told The Irrawaddy that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service on Tuesday issued a travel warning to its citizens to postpone any travel in Burma. Those deciding to go were urged to leave contact information with Korean embassies and to be particularly cautious in crowded public places like hotels and restaurants.
There are about 800 South Koreans living in Burma. One South Korean woman was injured in Saturday’s bombings.
The bombings occurred at the Dagon Center, Junction-8 Center and the Yangon [Rangoon] Trade Center, where a Thai trade fair was in progress. Burmese government officials placed casualties from the powerful explosions at 11 dead and 162 wounded.
An eyewitness who visited Rangoon General Hospital, however, told The Irrawaddy that the number of people killed in the attacks is much higher than the government figure.
Officials at Rangoon General Hospital refused to answer questions from The Irrawaddy, saying that they were ordered not to speak to news agencies about the number of people killed or the condition of the wounded.
Local residents said that they are afraid of what is happening in Rangoon and that they hate such terrorist activities. Many refuse to leave their homes-except when unavoidable-over concern for their security.