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Hundreds being interrogated in bomb blast investigations

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The Burmese military junta has stepped up investigations by arresting and questioning hundreds of local people in connection with the April 17 bomb blasts at the Irrawaddy River Myitsone dam construction site, which killed four people and injured more than 12, residents have alleged.


A Kachin Baptist Church in Tang Hpre, 27 miles north of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, northern Burma. Photo: Kachin News Group.

Junta officials including local Military Intelligence (Sa-Ya-Hpa), police, Special Branch Police (SB), Township Peace and Development Council (Ma-Ya-Ka) and army officers are among the investigators said the resident.

“Over 100 villagers have been arrested and questioned. Some are still being detained and only a few have been released,” said Awng Wa environmentalist and the leader of Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG).

“Yesterday at about 10 a.m. Lu Bawk and her mother were arrested. They have not returned home yet,” he added.

The Burmese Army’s Light Infantry (Kha-La-Ya) No. 29 is heading the investigations, he said.

Residents of Tang Hpre villages located at the Myitsone dam construction site are being investigated. The villagers were forced to shift from their home after the project was officially opened in 2006.

More than 15,000 people living around the dam project site fear relocation because of the construction of the hydro power project.

“They (villagers) continue to protest against the dam construction peacefully because they stand to lose their farmlands and homes. Now they have fresh troubles being interrogated for the bomb blasts,” added Awng Wa.

Investigations are on not only close to the dam construction site but some people living in Myitkyina the capital of Kachin State and Waingmaw Township, have also been arrested.

The April 17 serial bomb blasts occurred in at least five places in the offices of the dam project site in Chyinghkrang and Lungga Zup village killing four, injuring over 12, damaging seven buildings, 10 vehicles, a large electric generator, a garage, two entrance gates and a 2000 gallon fuel tank.

After the blasts over 300 Chinese dam construction workers went back to China.

“The authorities arrested some KIO members. In some cases whole families have been arrested, while in some cases it is father or the son,” said the KDNG leader.

Local businessman Ze Lum, who owns a rubber plantation near the blast sites, has been arrested along with four of his workers on suspicion because he had a problem with Asia World Company after he demanded compensation for 50 acres of rubber plantation, which was burnt down by the contractors.

The Irrawaddy Myitsone dam is being implanted by Asia World Company, junta’s No.1 Ministry of Electric Power and China state-owned company China Power Investment Corporation (CPI).

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