Bomb found near popular tourist market in Yongon


YANGON, Myanmar — Authorities in Myanmar found a bomb hidden near a popular tourist market in Yangon, state media reported Saturday, accusing anti-government groups of trying to instigate violence ahead of November elections.

Police found the bomb Friday on a wooden bridge leading to Yangon’s Bogyoke market, a handicraft and antique market that is one of the city’s main tourist attractions, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported. It said the device was rigged to explode Friday but a “duty-conscious” caller alerted authorities, who defused it in time.

“Insurgents, destructive elements and political opportunists are trying to ramp up instigation and destructive acts with the aim of disrupting the upcoming multiparty democracy election,” the newspaper said.

Reports in Myanmar’s tightly controlled newspapers are viewed as reflections of the ruling military’s views.

Myanmar will hold its first elections in two decades on Nov. 7. Critics say the polls are a sham designed to cement military rule. The country has been ruled by military governments since 1962.

A separate report in the New Light of Myanmar said soldiers found five mines Wednesday planted at a power grid pylon in Thaton township, 85 miles (135 kilometres) east of Yangon in Mon state. It said a soldier lost his leg when one of the mines exploded.

The newspaper accused anti-government groups of carrying out sabotage “to destroy state-owned property, to undermine stability and to disrupt the upcoming elections.”

Several bomb blasts have rocked Myanmar this year, including three in Yangon that killed nine people and wounded 170.