Assam blasts kill 5 in India

Jan. 1, 2009 at 11:48 PM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- At least five people were killed in three New Year's Day bombings in the eastern Assam state of India, which is still recovering from the Mumbai terror attacks.

All three blasts were in the state capital Guwahati, where India's Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was visiting.

Assam Police Chief G.M. Srivastava told reporters the separatist group United Liberation Front of Assam, which has been fighting for more autonomy for years, was suspected in the bomb attacks, CNN reported.

The group was blamed for a similar series of attacks that killed as many as 80 people in the state in October. The group, however, had denied involvement in those attacks.

The latest blasts came in the wake of the Mumbai carnage that began Nov. 26 and ended three days later in the country's financial capital, during which gunmen killed some 170 people including foreigners. India says the attackers were trained in Pakistan.

Indian media reports said the latest Guwahati blasts, targeting crowded areas, also injured more than 50 people. In one of the blasts, a motorcycle rider reportedly dropped the explosive and managed to escape despite a police chase.

The state's chief minister was quoted as saying there might have been security lapses, even though there apparently was some warning of an attack.

One Indian media report said Home Minister Chidambaram's visit was to review security in the state to prevent such bombings and to discuss alleged cross-border terrorism from neighboring Bangladesh.

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