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"Some have speculated that the explosions reflect an internal power struggle in the government"
 real 28k

Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 15:40 GMT
Bicycle bomb explodes in Laos
vientiane street
A series of bombings in Laos has hurt 40 people
A bomb on a parked bicycle has exploded at the international airport in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, injuring at least three people.

The blast happened at around 10am (0300 GMT) shortly before the Vietnamese foreign minister, Nguyen Dy Nien, was scheduled to arrive for a meeting of South-East Asian foreign ministers later this week.

laos airport
The blast went off outside the airport
Analysts say dissidents attempting to undermine the Communist government could have been responsible for the blast - the latest in a series of attacks in Laos.

Correspondents say the explosion will be a serious embarrassment for the Laotian Government, which has repeatedly stressed that visiting diplomats will not be in any danger.

India's foreign minister Jaswant Singh is in the country and Chinese President Jiang Zemin is due to arrive on Saturday.


An Associated Press report said several women sitting on a bench at the terminal's entrance were injured and needed hospital treatment.

Other reports said three people - an airport cleaner, a waiter and taxi driver - were hurt.

Unexplained bombings

The crude bomb contained shards of metal and was placed in a plastic bag on the back of a bicycle - the same method used in a May bombing outside a Vientiane hotel, diplomatic sources said.

Since late March, there have been a number of unexplained bomb attacks in Vientiane - normally one of Asia's most placid capital cities - leaving at least 40 people injured.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the blasts and there is no clear information indicating who is planting the devices or why.

The bombs have gone off at a tourist restaurant, a market and a bus depot.

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See also:

11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Another blast disrupts Laos
31 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bomb blast in Laos capital
03 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Five dead in Laos border clash
03 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Laos Rebels in More Fighting
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