Nine injured in Assam blast
May 21, 2007 - 1:15:49 PM

Guwahati, May 21 - At least nine people were wounded, one critically, in a powerful explosion at a crowded marketplace Monday in Bongaigaon town of Assam.

A police spokesman said the bomb was concealed in a sack strapped to a bicycle near a busy commercial area in Bongaigaon, about 210 km west of Assam's main city of Guwahati.

'The area where the explosion took place was crowded. Most of the injured are either morning shoppers or vendors,' police official S. Rai told IANS by telephone.

The victims were shifted to a local hospital with multiple injuries.

Police blamed the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom -, a rebel group fighting for an independent Assamese homeland since 1979, for the blast.

Assam has been rocked by a string of explosions in the past two weeks. Two people were killed in an explosion in Guwahati last week.

In the past two months, the ULFA staged at least 24 bomb explosions in Assam and launched a fresh attack on Hindi-speaking migrant workers, killing 10 of them in separate raids during the past 10 days. The ULFA was also blamed for a string of attacks in January in which 80 people were killed, 61 of them Hindi-speaking migrant workers.

The central government launched a massive military offensive against the ULFA after the strikes killing 55 rebels and arresting 553 more cadres since January. More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam during the past two decades.

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