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Belarus terror probe widens into crackdown on opposition

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"Today the crime was solved," Lukashenko said. "The most important thing is that we know how and by whom the terrorist attack was committed," although the suspects – two of whom are factory workers – have not yet divulged the names of any accomplices, he said.

"I have given instructions to review all statements by [opposition] political leaders," Lukashenko continued. "We are looking for accomplices and those who ordered [the act]. These figures from the so-called fifth column may reveal their cards and indicate who ordered it.... Everyone should be brought in and questioned, and we shouldn't worry our heads with any questions of democracy, or the moaning and wailing of foreign bleeding hearts."

Viktor Ivashkevich, a leader of the Belarussian Choice opposition group, says that many of those arrested after protesting against alleged vote-rigging in December parliamentary elections that brought Lukashenko back for a fourth term, reported being tortured by the KGB security police, which leaves him deeply worried about today's announcement.

"Who knows what methods were used to get those confessions," he says. "Lukashenko indicated that he believes it was the opposition that ordered the terrorist act, and he said that the struggle against terrorism will now be expanded to include rumors about food shortages, with no more concerns over human rights. What we see is that the threat of terrorism will be used to reduce civil freedoms and crush any protests over inflation."

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