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Keeping an eye on Myanmar

Journeys Within is aware of recent bombings in Myanmar and we are watching the situation closely.

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Since last Firday, nine small explosions have been reported throughout Myanmar.

Two people —  a policeman and a female civilian — were reportedly killed at a guesthouse in the town of Taungoo, about 55 km (35 miles) from the capital, Naypyitaw. Other injuries sustained during the explosions have been described as minor.

“These devices were obviously not intended to cause large numbers of casualties,” Anthony Davis, an analyst at a global security consulting firm told Reuters. “They were designed to alarm and destabilize. And their geographical spread reinforces that.”

To date, no one has taken responsibility for the blasts.

The reasons for these bombings are not clear, but speculations are that the blasts could be related to Myanmar assuming this year’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It must have been carried out to create worries and concern among the people and to make the international community doubt the security standard in Myanmar at a time when Myanmar is going to take the ASEAN chair,” Ye Htut, the president’s spokeman, told Radio Free Asia’s Burmese-language service.

Disrupting negotiations between minority ethnic groups, the government and the military has also been presented as a possible motive for the attacks.  Myanmar has only recently opened its borders after five decades of military rule – a move that has resulted in pockets of religious violence and fighting between ethnic groups and the military.

Nobel peace laureate and opposition party leader, Ms Suu Kyi has asked the authorities to “urgently expose the perpetrators” of the bombings.

“These are deliberate acts to create panic, but the people should be cautious not to fall into the trap,’’ she told reporters in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital.

Police said that they have arrested four suspects in connection with the bomb attacks, including a man caught on security camera at the Traders on Monday.

The U.S. embassy is urging its citizens to exercise caution while traveling through Myanmar.

“While there is no indication at this time that any of these IEDs were specifically directed toward U.S. citizens, the Embassy asks that all U.S. citizens exercise an appropriate level of caution when traveling around Rangoon and/or Burma.  Extra attention should be taken when in public areas such as parks, markets, and bus stops.  The Embassy is in close contact with the local police authorities, who have advised that they have no specific threat information related to any potential additional targets.”

Additional information on travelling in Burma can be found on the government’s travel site for Burma.

Journeys Within is keeping in touch with all their guests on the ground and has made changes were needed to keep guests safe and secure. We will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary changes to tours.

The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon is located at 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. 

The Embassy Telephone is (95)-(1)-536-509.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (95)-(9)-512-4330.  If calling the 24 Hour Embassy Telephone, explain that you want to speak to the Duty Officer or a Consular Officer.