Su­per­mar­ket blasts pinned on ‘home­made ex­plo­sives’

Four ex­plo­sions at a shop­ping cen­tre in Yan­gon on Novem­ber 20 were caused by home­made con­trap­tions con­cealed be­hind mer­chan­dise, according to staffers’ ac­counts of an in­ci­dent that caused wide­spread shock but lit­tle dam­age.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - LUN MIN MANG TOE WAI AUNG

FOUR dif­fer­ent ex­plo­sions that rocked a su­per­mar­ket in Yan­gon on Novem­ber 20 were caused by “home­made ex­plo­sives” planted through­out the shop­ping com­plex, according to man­agers at the mar­ket. The ex­plo­sives ap­pear to have caused lim­ited dam­age and no in­juries.

“We can say that the things that caused the blast yes­ter­day were home­made ex­plo­sives. Police are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent,” Daw Thwe Thwe Moe, gen­eral man­ager of Cap­i­tal Hyper­mar­ket in Daw­bon town­ship, told re­porters yes­ter­day.

Staff mem­bers from the mar­ket dis­puted the ter­mi­nol­ogy “bomb” when re­fer­ring to the ex­plo­sives. A state­ment re­leased by the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion on Novem­ber 20 ini­tially said home­made “bombs” caused the blasts, but that was amended yes­ter­day to say “home­made ex­plo­sives”.

The first blast oc­curred on the first floor of the shop­ping cen­tre around 5:35pm on Novem­ber 20, and the last blast went off just be­fore 6pm. In to­tal, four ex­plo­sions were set off at Cap­i­tal Hyper­mar­ket, according to staff mem­bers, in­clud­ing two on the up­per floor and two on the ground floor. The home­made con­trap­tions were con­cealed be­hind rows of store mer­chan­dise.

U Naing Oo, a man­ager at Cap­i­tal Hyper­mar­ket, told The Myan­mar Times that key ev­i­dence such as CCTV footage had been trans­ferred to in­ves­ti­gat­ing police. He de­clined to com­ment on whether any sus­pect had been iden­ti­fied, or could be spot­ted in the se­cu­rity tapes.

“They were just mi­nor ex­plo­sions,” he said.

Fol­low­ing the blasts, Cap­i­tal Hyper­mar­ket was closed down, with police se­cur­ing the premises. Of­fi­cials from the Tat­madaw’s En­gi­neer­ing Reg­i­ment, the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment of In­sein town­ship and the lo­cal police sta­tion rushed into the mar­ket in search of other un­ex­ploded de­vices.

The su­per­mar­ket re­opened yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

A team led by Police Cap­tain Myint Lwin of Daw­bon town­ship is con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent. They have opened a case un­der sec­tion 3 of the 1980 Ex­plo­sives Act. No mo­tive for the at­tack has yet been made pub­lic.

Vis­it­ing the su­per­mar­ket af­ter the ex­plo­sion, Yan­gon Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein in­structed the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fers to re­view the CCTV ev­i­dence care­fully for any clues as to the per­pe­tra­tor, or per­pe­tra­tors, according to U Naing Oo.

Man­agers at the su­per­mar­ket said the dam­age in­curred by the blast was min­i­mal, es­ti­mated to to­tal around K180,000 (US$139), mostly in prod­ucts like juice bot­tles de­stroyed in the ex­plo­sions.

In an in­ter­view with the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion, Police Ma­jor Soe Myint Aung of Daw­bon town­ship said the ex­plo­sions were not se­vere and caused no harm to any­one in the shop­ping mall.

In a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent in Yan­gon last week, two ex­plo­sions oc­curred at Ocean Su­per Cen­tre on the cor­ner of Pyay Road and Taw Win Street in Mayan­gone town­ship. The two blasts, one in the men’s ground floor re­stroom and one in the com­plex’s car park, oc­curred around 8:15pm on Novem­ber 17, according to The Global New Light of Myan­mar.

The state me­dia re­port said chem­i­cal liq­uids were found at Ocean Su­per Cen­tre in a bot­tle and in a tube. There were no in­juries re­ported in that in­ci­dent ei­ther.

Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

Home­made ex­plo­sives that det­o­nated at Cap­i­tal Hyper­mart were hid­den be­hind mer­chan­dise.

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