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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK3074
2005-05-09 09:33:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

BURMESE DISSIDENT GROUPS IN THAILAND DENY

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PTER  PHUM  TH  BM  BURMA 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003074 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, S/CT; HQ USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM TH BM BURMA
SUBJECT: BURMESE DISSIDENT GROUPS IN THAILAND DENY
INVOLVEMENT IN RANGOON BOMBING

REF: RANGOON 542

Classified By: Political Counselor Robert J. Clarke, Reason: 1.5 (d)




1. (SBU) Summary: Burmese exile groups based in Thailand have
denied any connection to the bombings in Rangoon on May 7,


2005. Most speculated, without any providing any hard
evidence, that former associates of ousted Prime Minister
Khin Nyunt and the military intelligence services might be
responsible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated
that 128 Thai citizens attending a Thai trade fair in Rangoon
had returned safely to Bangkok on May 8. End Summary.

ACCUSED GROUPS ALL DENY INVOLVEMENT



2. (SBU) Following the May 7 bombings in Rangoon, which
killed at least 11 people (Reftel), the Karen National Union
(KNU), the National Coalition Government, Union of Burma
(NCGUB) and the Shan State Army (SSA) all publicly denied
involvement in the attacks. All of the groups were named by
the SPDC military regime as being responsible for the
bombings. The KNU statement, issued on May 8, stated, "This
is an outrageous atrocity of inhuman (sic) act and we, the
KNU, strongly oppose and condemn it." Nang Kher Seng,
spokesperson of the SSA was quoted in several media report on
May 7 denying SSA involvement and stating her opinion that it
was an internal struggle within the ruling SPDC. Poloff
spoke in Bangkok with Sann Aung, from the Prime Minister's
office of the US-based NCGUB. Sann Aung, who stated he had
just returned from the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot,
provided a written statement denying NCGUB involvement. He
declined to speculate who carried out the bombings, but said
the exile community at the border was rife with rumors about
disgruntled former military intelligence (MI) operatives of
ousted SPDC Prime Minister Khin Nyunt being responsible.
(Post will send complete statements from the KNU and NCGUB
via e-mail to Rangoon and EAP.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS THAIS NOT THE TARGET



3. (U) Foreign Minister Kanthati Suphamongkhon was quoted in
the Bangkok Post as saying that "Thais were not the target of
the bomb." Commenting on the prospects of a planned second
Thai trade fair in Rangoon in November, the Deputy Trade
Minister only commented that the RTG "might review" whether
it will go on as planned.



4. (C) Damrong Kraikruan, Director of the MFA East Asian
Affairs Division responsible for Burma, confirmed that a
Royal Thai Airforce C-130 dispatched to Rangoon after the
bombings had returned to Bangkok on May 8 with 128 Thai
civilian evacuees. No Thai diplomats returned and the Thai
embassy in Rangoon is functioning normally, according to
Damrong. The civilian Thais in Rangoon were participating in
a Thai trade exhibition, which was where one of the bombs
went off. Damrong stated that two of the four Thais were
injured by the blast in the exhibition hall, while the other
two were hurt while trying to flee. At this stage, Damrong
stated that it's extremely difficult to know who is
responsible for the attacks and that he did not put much
credit into the early claims by the SPDC of who was
responsible since they were still investigating and gathering
evidence from the blast scenes. He did note that the May
bombings appear to be part of a worrisome trend, referring to
two attacks earlier this year, one at a Rangoon restaurant
and another at a Mandalay market. Damrong admitted, however,
that there's no clear evidence linking the attacks to each
other or to any single group. He opined that the KNU would be
the least likely group to have the capacity to carry out the
attack or the motivation to do so since they were still
trying to negotiate a cease-fire with the SPDC. He offered no
comment about further RTG reaction or about any possible
impact that the bombings would have on the status of various
Burmese pro-democracy groups that operate in Thailand.



4. (C) Comment. The early conclusion by FM Kanthati about
the intent of as yet unknown bombers appears aimed more at
trying to assuage fears of a Burmese-Thai rift following a
serious and embarrassing lapse of security. Damrong's "no
comment" on how the bombings will affect Burmese exiles
indicates that the RTG is waiting to get more information
about who is responsible for this spate of bombings before
making any decisions about whether any RTG action to restrict
pro-democracy groups would be justified. While it is too
early to predict what effect this incident will have on
official Thai-Burma relations, violence in the Burmese
capital adds more apprehension to the atmosphere for Thai
business and government officials already struggling with how
to deal with the SPDC. End Comment.



5. (U) Embassy Rangoon and Consulate General Chiang Mai both
cleared on this message.
BOYCE