Police in the Dark on Microsoft Blast

LONDON (06/02/2000) - The circumstances behind the explosive device that blew up just outside Microsoft Corp.'s South African office in Johannesburg early this morning are still a mystery.

"I have seen many bomb sites, and this is not a major one," said Superintendent Chris Wilken, head of police communications for the Johannesburg area. "The device went off at 4:50 this morning, and we still don't know what type of device was used." The Johannesburg police also don't know the motive for the blast, and no one has claimed responsibility for it as of yet.

"I am just as much in the dark as you are," said Wilken in a phone interview with the IDG News Service.

The police have taken samples from the burn marks on the ground for forensic analysis, but until they have been analyzed, it is impossible to say what type of device was used, Wilken said. No one was hurt in the explosion since the building was nearly empty and the bomb went off outside in a backyard cafeteria area where there are tables and chairs, Wilken said.

At the moment, four to five detectives are working on the case, according to Wilken.

Only four security guards were in the building when the explosion occurred, and the office's 150 employees were asked to work outside of the office today.

Microsoft's head office in Seattle, Washington had been notified, according to a report from the Reuters news service.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

(Laura Rohde contributed to this story.)

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