Two 'confess' to Belarus subway bombings

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The Independent Online

Two suspects have confessed to carrying out the deadly subway bombing in Minsk, President Alexander Lukashenko announced yesterday, claiming his political opponents might know who ordered the attack.

The bombing during Monday evening's rush hour at the capital's main subway station killed 12 people and wounded more than 200. No one has claimed responsibility, but officials have called it a terrorist attack.

In a televised statement, Mr Lukashenko said the suspects admitted taking part in the attack but said authorities still did not know who ordered the bombing. The authoritarian President said he has asked the prosecutor general to interrogate leading opposition figures in connection with the blast "regardless of democracy, and cries and wailing of foreign sufferers". "Maybe those politicians from the fifth column will open their cards and show who ordered it," he said.

Mr Lukashenko has run the former Soviet nation of 10 million for nearly 17 years and is described as "Europe's last dictator". He has already cracked down on opposition members after tens of thousands protested against the result of the presidential election in December.

Hundreds of dissidents were arrested after the election, including seven of the nine presidential candidates. International observers described the election as rigged. He has also retained Soviet-style controls over the economy and media.