Bombing death toll rises; free speech could be at risk

By April 26, 2011

Belarus (MNN) — The death toll for an April 11 subway bombing officially rose to 14 yesterday when another victim passed away. About 200 more were injured in the attack which happened during rush-hour in one of the most frequented stations in Minsk.

Sources confirm that five suspects have been arrested already, including a man shown on surveillance cameras placing a bag under a bench in the station, moving to a safe distance, and reaching into his coat to detonate the bomb. Police nabbed this man using the information from the cameras.

Just two days after the attack, the Guardian reported that two detainees had admitted to the attack, as well as to two other bombings in 2005 and 2008. A motive for setting off an explosion clearly meant to harm so many is yet to be determined. The Associated Press says it is also unclear as to who ordered the bombing to take place.

Russian Ministries reports that Belarus' President Lukashenko now suggests the bombing was the work of dissidents. Some fear he might use the attack as a pretext to further consolidate power.

Voice of America reports that conspiracy theories linking the government to the bombing have been widespread. Such coverage was found in the Nasha Niva–the nation's only opposition paper–and has led to the prosecutor general's threat to "bring order" to the internet.

The internet is essentially the only option Belarusians have for free speech, notes The Associated Press.

Pray that any free speech limitations would not limit the spread of the Gospel. Russian Ministries has many young Christian leaders in Minsk, and they ask for your prayers.

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