Lukashenko wants security boss sacked for Belarus bombing

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko on Tuesday said his security boss should quit work immediately for allowing terrorists to bomb a recent rock music concert, and other alleged professional errors, reported dpa.

Viktor Sheyman, head of the Belarusian Council of Security, is "morally obliged" to resign his post, as a result of a Friday explosion in a Minsk public square injuring more than 50, Lukashenko said during a televised National Security Council meeting.

Lukashenko's near-total control of Belarusian government leaves little option for subordinates he wants sacked.

Sheyman not only failed to prevent the attack taking place during an outdoor gala concert attended by an estimated 500,000 Minsk residents, but "increased chances of public panic" by allowing dozens of ambulances to sound their sirens as injured were treated.

The Belarusian ruler was in a VIP stand at the concert some distance from the explosion, and unhurt by the blast.

Lukashenko claimed he was primarily responsible for preventing mass panic in the wake of the explosion by going to the blast site only minutes after the detonation to calm the crowd, despite alleged pleas by bodyguards to stay away from the danger area.

Belarusian state-controlled media on Tuesday made clear Lukashenko's "quick response" prevented mass panic by instructing ambulances to switch off their sirens, and ordering bands to keep on playing music as blast victims were treated and hauled off to hospital.

The media reports and presidential comments both were to many Belarusians a veiled but unmistakable reference to a 1999 Minsk rock concert stampede leaving 54 dead in the former Soviet republic's worst ever crowd-related disaster.

Three people were severely injured by the Friday bomb blast, according to Belarusian police caused by a home-made device concealed in a one-litre juice carton, and filled with steel nuts, bolts and explosives.

A search for the person or people responsible for the bombing was continuing, but no suspects by Tuesday had been arrested, Bel-1 television reported.

Police were looking for "a group of Belarusian extremists" wanting to undermine the authority of the Lukashenko's regime by demonstrating its "alleged inability to protect citizens," said Gennadiy Nevyglasa, a Lukashenko security advisor.

The July 4 bombing marked an unprecedented attack and violence spike for tightly-controlled Belarus, where opposition political parties are repressed, police routinely break up public gatherings of 10 people or more as potentially illegal demonstrations.

Lukashenko has held almost total control over Belarus since a 1994 constitutional coup.