Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Attack on Myanmar embassy in KL

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Arsonists hurled firebombs at Myanmar's embassy in Malaysia, destroying the small, two-storey building, officials and witnesses have said.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three Myanmar nationals had gone to the embassy Wednesday morning to collect some forms and were turned away by embassy officials.
The three returned a short time later, were granted entry and started throwing "molotov cocktails," the official told The Associated Press.
No one was injured, the official said, but police arrested three suspects in the attack.
A Kuala Lumpur Fire Services Department official said more than 30 firefighters were dispatched to the embassy -- in the diplomatic district of downtown Kuala Lumpur -- shortly before 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) and found the building ablaze.
The fire was brought under control within about 30 minutes, but not before "the office block was destroyed," the spokesman said.
Witnesses, including an Associated Press photographer, described the two-story building as being completely gutted by the fire.
Police and fire crews had sealed off access to the embassy.
Myanmar officials weren't immediately available to comment.
Tens of thousands of immigrants from Myanmar live in Malaysia, which is one of Southeast Asia's wealthiest countries and a magnet for migrant workers.
Malaysia also attracts hundreds of asylum seekers who claim they face persecution from Myanmar's military rulers.
The fire is the second security breach at a diplomatic mission in Kuala Lumpur in the past eight days, though they appear to be unrelated.
On March 30, someone threw an explosive device at Australia's High Commission in the city, scorching an outer wall but causing no major damage or injuries.
Police said the device was a bottle filled with firecracker powder. No arrests have been made.

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