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July Today in Terrorism

July 6, 2006: Bomb destroys bus in Transnistria

On July 6, 2006 a powerful explosion killed at least seven people on a minibus in the Transnistrian capital city, Tiraspol

TIRASPOL, TRANSNISTRIA – Just because no one has heard of your country doesn’t mean the terrorists haven’t.

Do you have any idea how many “countries” there in the world? The question is not as easy to answer or as straightforward as you may think.

First, there is the fundamental issue: what is a ‘country’? The venerable Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory”. Is that enough?

The United Nations (I will use ‘nation’ and ‘country’ as synonymous for the purposes of this post) has 193 member states. Taiwan is NOT one of them (the PRC sees Taiwan as a ‘rogue province’). Neither is the ‘Principality of Hutt River‘ in Australia run by one HRH Prince Leonard. Go figure!

L’etat c’est moi – literally! (Photo: Chris Fithall on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Another undecided case is that of Transnistria, a sliver of land in northeast Moldova, which declared ‘independence‘ from the latter in 1990. It is only recognised by Abkhazia, the Republic of Artsakh and South Ossetia, all of which are also recognised by just about nobody.

Non-recognition, alas, is not a barrier to terrorism.

On this day in 2006

A powerful explosion killed at least seven people on a minibus in the Transnistrian capital city, Tiraspol. The force of the blast destroyed the bus, hurling its roof and other parts hundreds of feet and leaving only its battered chassis. Among the dead was a military nurse serving with a Russian peacekeeping force that had remained in Transnistria since its declaration of independence from Moldova.

We do not consider this an act of terrorism at the moment, since we do not have any information that this act was aimed at destabilizing the republic. We do not attach any political coloring to this crime.

Interior Minister, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Y. Antyufeyev

As we have often seen in this series, assigning responsibility is not always easy. This looks like an act of terrorism to me, but I could be wrong.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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