Police Remain Tight-Lipped About Rangoon Explosions

By Tin Htet Paing 29 November 2016

RANGOON — Police remain tight-lipped and have not yet delivered an official explanation to the public regarding an investigation into a number of minor explosions that recently occurred in commercial capital Rangoon.

The police have reportedly arrested suspects involved in the explosions but refused to take questions from reporters since the last incident occurred at the immigration department of the Rangoon divisional government on Friday.

Four energy drink bottles suspected of being explosives were found at Rangoon International Airport’s Terminal 1 on Tuesday, according to a Facebook statement posted by the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services. The statement commented that the act was intended to elicit fear.

The police force and the State Counselor’s Office Information Committee later released a statement on Facebook that said the bottles contained no explosive chemicals but only painkiller fluid, according to an initial investigation.

Four blast incidents occurred in the former capital during the last three weeks— two at shopping malls and another two targeted immigration department offices.

The detonations were caused by “homemade explosives” made from M150 brand glass energy drink bottles filled with chemical liquids, and there were no casualties and no reported injuries in the blasts, according to police sources.

Wire news agency Agence France-Presse reported on Saturday that the police “had arrested three Muslims for planting home-made bombs around [Rangoon] and were investigating their links to terrorists in Rakhine [Arakan] State,” quoting an anonymous police official.

Local English-language newspaper Myanmar Times stated that the police force deleted their Facebook statement posted on its official page on Saturday, which initially announced that three suspects who were linked to the explosions in the government compound were arrested.

Since then, photos of an alleged arrested suspect and seized bomb-making materials, which bear the watermarks of the police force’s logo, have circulated on social media. The Irrawaddy was unable to verify the authenticity of the photos with the police force.

Rangoon regional lawmakers told The Irrawaddy that they have no updates about the suspects or the arrest. President Office’s spokesman U Zaw Htay told The Irrawaddy on Monday that an official announcement would be released “after police procedures were finalized.”