2 Jan 2009

Bombs kill 5 in India's Assam state

10:06 am on 2 January 2009

At least five people were killed and 26 wounded when suspected separatist militants set off three bombs in the main city of India's troubled northeastern Assam state.

Police said the first bomb was found in a dustbin in a heavily populated residential area of Guwahati on Thursday and exploded before a disposal squad could defuse it.

Two other improvised explosive devices planted on bicycles exploded late afternoon, one near a crowded shopping mall, the other at a street market.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, however police accused the United Liberation Front of Asom, the major separatist group in the oil- and tea-rich state, which is often blamed for attacks.

It is among more than two dozen armed groups in India's northeast which are either fighting for an independent homeland or more political autonomy.

The blasts hit Guwahati before India's Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram arrived in the state for a security review on Thursday.