Exiles: Eight killed and 94 missing in Myanmar clash

  • ASEAN+
  • Wednesday, 25 Jun 2003

BANGKOK: A Thailand-based group of political exiles from Myanmar said yesterday eight people were killed on May 30 in a clash between a pro-junta group and supporters of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. 

At least 94 people were missing, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said in a statement. 

Suu Kyi was detained after the clash in central Myanmar and remains in the custody of the country's military regime. The group said its sources in Myanmar had reported that authorities had arrested 51 people, including Suu Kyi and key leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD). 

It said 94 people, including the party's vice-chairman, Tin Oo, had not been accounted for, listing them as “disappeared”. 

Myanmar exiles and some Yangon-based diplomats say hundreds of pro-junta youths, wielding bamboo and iron rods, set upon Suu Kyi's convoy and local villagers when she was touring a town in central Myanmar. 

Myanmar's ruling generals, who maintain that four people died in the incident, say they are holding Suu Kyi for her own safety. 

A six-member team from the International Committee of the Red Cross left Yangon on Sunday for central Myanmar to visit around a dozen detained members of the NLD leadership. The team's leader Michel Ducreaux told Reuters last week access had been denied to Suu Kyi. 

Britain says Suu Kyi is being held in the “notorious” Insein Jail on the northern outskirts of Yangon, but the Myanmar government denies this. 

International anger has mounted against Myanmar's military rulers over Suu Kyi's detention, with the European Union and the United States threatening harsher sanctions. 

The biggest aid donor to the country, Japan, sent a minister to meet Myanmar's military intelligence chief and third in the ruling junta on Monday to try to secure her release. 

But Tetsuro Yano came away empty handed, telling reporters in Bangkok the military had given him only vague assurances it would “rectify the situation”. 

The NLD swept to a landslide election victory in 1990 but was prevented from taking power by the military, which has ruled the country since a 1962 coup. – Reuters  

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