Detainee bombs Myanmar police station, kills self

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A man detained at a police station Wednesday in eastern Myanmar detonated a bomb, killing himself and wounding at least four policeman in the latest in series of blasts apparently linked to political discontent.

A security official said Wednesday the man had been taken to a police station in Demawso, in Kayah State, 200 miles (320 kilometers) northeast of Yangon, for interrogation. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said the man set off a bomb, but was unable to provide further details. It was not clear why the man had been detained.

The explosion was the seventh known bombing in recent weeks in military-ruled Myanmar. The attacks come as the ruling junta prepares for a general election that its opponents have called unfair and undemocratic.

Bombings are rare but not unknown in Myanmar, though the latest attacks appeared aimed at higher profile targets than earlier ones. The country has a long history of internal conflict, especially between the central government and ethnic minorities in border areas seeking greater autonomy. But there is also opposition to the ruling junta among the public at large.

The highest profile explosions occurred on April 15 in Yangon, the country's biggest city, when three bombs killed ten people and wounded 170 others during the traditional water festival.

Two days later, 10 mines exploded and several more were found undetonated at a controversial hydropower dam project site in northern Myanmar's Kachin state. They wounded one person and caused damage to several buildings and six vehicles.

Two separate explosions occurred on April 13 at checkpoints near the Chinese border and at Kawkareik in Kayin State injuring three people.

An explosion at a district telecommunication office in Kyaikmaraw, in Mon State, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Yangon on Tuesday night wounded three people. A series of grenade attacks at a hydropower project about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Yangon early Tuesday morning wounded four workers.

There have been no claims of responsibility for any of the blasts, some of which the government has blamed on unspecified "terrorists."

Myanmar's military rulers declared they would hold elections this year as part of the their "roadmap to democracy," but critics say the military shows little sign of relinquishing control and note that the government has made every effort to prevent detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from taking part in the polls.

Myanmar had its last election in 1990. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy topped those polls, but the military — which has ruled the country virtually continuously since 1962 — refused to recognize the results and would not allow it to take power.

The party decided against registering this year, a move that is tantamount to boycotting the vote. A recently enacted election law require existing political parties to register or be disbanded.