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AP: Mail Bomb Goes Off in Burma

                         Mail Bomb Goes Off in

                         Monday, April 7, 1997 12:56 pm EDT

                         RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- A bombing at the home of
one of
                         Burma's ruling generals fueled speculation Monday
of a rift in the
                         top ranks of the military government.

                         The government said the bomb exploded Sunday night
 at the
                         house of Lt. Gen. Tin Oo, the army chief of staff.
 The explosion
                         killed his daughter, Cho Lei Oo, 34, wife of an
army major and
                         mother of two children.

                         According to a government statement, a mail bomb
                         suspected in the ``terrorist bomb explosion.''

                         Ethnic and student rebel groups denied
responsibility for the blast,
                         saying the attack suggested an internal power
struggle between
                         Gen. Maung Aye, a former field commander allied
with Tin Oo,
                         and the powerful head of military intelligence,
Lt. Gen Khin Nyunt.
                         Those claims could not be proven.

                         Sunday's attack was the second time in five months
 that Tin Oo
                         has been the apparent target of bombs. On
Christmas Day, two
                         blasts tore through a Rangoon pagoda he had
visited hours earlier.
                         Five people were killed and 17 injured.

                         The bombing came amid a major government offensive
                         student and ethnic Karen National Union rebels and
                         attacks by Buddhist monks last month against
minority Muslims.

                         Man Sha, vice secretary-general of the Karen
National Union,
                         attributed the attack to a rivalry within the
ruling State Law and
                         Order Restoration Council.

                         ``Inside their army, they're having more and more
                         struggles,'' he told The Associated Press in

                         The government made no initial accusations in the
bombing. The
                         regime has blamed past bombings on communists,
rebel groups
                         and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi's
                         pro-democracy movement.

                         ``This is an act of cowardice. I'm deeply sorry
about it,'' a vice
                         chairman of Suu Kyi's beleaguered National League
                         Democracy, Tin Oo, told The Associated Press in
Bangkok by
                         telephone. He is not related to the general.

                         Opposition groups have denied responsibility for
past bombings
                         and accused the military of staging them as a
pretext for

                         A veteran of campaigns against ethnic and
communist insurgents,
                         Lt. Gen. Tin Oo has threatened in public speeches
to ``annihilate''
                         opponents of the regime. But he rarely speaks
publicly of politics
                         and is a popular commander with the troops.

                         Several soldiers were seen outside the closed
gates of his
                         compound Monday morning. No damage to the
                         building could be seen from the street.

                         In a separate incident, the government news agency
 reported that
                         289 diehard members of the defunct Burma Communist
                         rebel group surrendered Sunday at a ceremony in
Maungtaw, 350
                         miles northwest of Rangoon. There was no apparent
                         with the bombing.

                         Most BCP rebels stopped fighting after mainstream
leaders signed
                         a cease-fire in 1989.

                         The military has ruled Burma since 1962. The
current generation
                         of rulers came to power in 1988. The government
has gunned
                         down thousands of anti-government protesters.

                         The military warned Burmese citizens Sunday to
refrain from
                         political agitation during the New Year's
festival. The festivities,
                         which culminate April 17, are celebrated in large
part by citizens
                         dousing each other with water.

                                   ? Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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