Myanmar probes suspected bomb blast at luxury hotel

Myanmar probes suspected bomb blast at luxury hotel

YANGON - Myanmar was investigating Tuesday a suspected bomb blast at a luxury Yangon hotel that wounded a US woman, the latest in a series of explosions in the former military-ruled nation.

Authorities said the recent incidents could be aimed at derailing the country's pro-democratic reforms as it prepares to host a major regional sporting event and take the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The injured American was taken to hospital with wounds to her thigh and her hand after the blast ripped through a guest room at the Traders Hotel in central Yangon late on Monday, police said.

"We assume that it was a bomb blast but we are still trying to find out more information," a police official at the scene who did not want to be named told AFP.

Military officials and soldiers with sniffer dogs were seen at the hotel while shattered glass covered the road outside.

The hotel, part of the Shangri-La group, is located in the heart of Myanmar's commercial hub. It is popular with foreign tourists and visiting business people.

The incident followed a series of earlier bomb blasts but it is not clear who is behind them.

A man and a woman were killed and another person injured in an explosion Friday at a guesthouse in the town of Taunggu, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) from the capital Naypyidaw, police said.

Two other devices exploded in Yangon on Sunday - one at a bus stop and another under a truck, which wounded two teenagers, according to authorities.

Two more makeshift devices were found in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay on Monday.

"We cannot say who is responsible for these acts," said Police Lieutenant General Min Aung of the Myanmar Police Force's intelligence and security department.

"We're still investigating. The system they used is the same in all the cases. We think an organisation or a person planted them all," he told AFP by telephone from Naypyidaw on Monday, speaking before the blast at the Traders Hotel.

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