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Burma Police Round Up Bombing Suspects

Burma's police chief Zaw Win, second from right, talks to journalists during a press conference regarding recent explosions, Oct 18, 2013, at Rangoon Region government office in Rangoon, Burma.
Burmese police, investigating a string of bombings across the country, are accusing a small group of terrorists of being behind the explosions. During a news conference Friday in Rangoon, they said the attacks appeared to have been carried out to intimidate foreign investors.

Rangoon Region Police Chief U Zaw Win said security camera video of attackers seen at several bomb sites and similar bomb construction techniques indicate the 10 attacks over the last week are linked.

He said the recent bombings were carried out by a group of terrorists, and intended to scare people. The chief said police had a break in the case when questioning the prime suspect involved in the bombing of Rangoon’s high-end Trader’s Hotel this week, which resulted in an American tourist's injury.

Using security video and an identification card left in a taxi, police were able to arrest Saw Myint Lwin, whom they identify as the main suspect in that attack, several hundred miles away in Mon state.

The police chief said Saw Myint Lwin told authorities during questioning that he was recruited by a man who paid him $500, promised him a license for a gold mine, and gave him explosives.

Police said the man was seen in video from security cameras located at several bombing sites. Another detained suspect, Saw Hla, also claimed the man trained him and paid him $500 to carry out the attacks.

Police chief U Saw Win said the operation allegedly was financed by a Karen businessman who was interested in thwarting foreign investment in Burma. He said another identified target was Sedona Hotel, where there are many foreigners.

Parts of the homemade bombs were on display at Friday’s news conference, and police identified common elements in all the explosive devices.