Burmese government officials have interrogated former spy chief Khin Nyunt over his recent comment that he “saved” pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s life during the Depayin Massacre in 2003.
Sources within the Naypyidaw government said the comments could lead to his re-arrest.
High-ranking officials are reportedly “furious” with Khin Nyunt, who was recently released from years house arrest, and say they fear reprisals from former junta chief Than Shwe.
“It is as if he [Khin Nyunt] had woken up a sleeping tiger [Than Shwe],” said one official who asked to remain anonymous.
Khin Nyunt, the former prime minister who was purged by Snr-Gen Than Shwe in October 2004 and placed under house arrest, allegedly told the Bangkok Post last week that he personally intervened to save the life of Suu Kyi during an attack instigated by a pro-junta mob against Suu Kyi’s convoy on the outskirts of Depayin Township in Sagaing Division on May 30, 2003, when an estimated 70 people were killed.
“I sent my men to snatch her from the mob that night and they brought her to safety to a nearby army cantonment,” Khin Nyunt was quoted as saying.
However, according to a statement made by Burma’s special branch on Wednesday, Khin Nyunt has denied speaking to the Bangkok Post and rejected allegations that he made such a claim.
Tin Oo, a leading member of Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, rejected Khin Nyunt’s comments: “If he [really] saved Aung San Suu Kyi, he should have sent her home. Why did he send her to jail instead?”
After this week’s interrogation, Khin Nyunt reportedly decided to join a monastery and become as a monk, perhaps fearing a potential backlash, said sources in the capital.
During his time in power, Khin Nyunt was notorious for cracking down on dissent and brutally punishing political dissidents. He was a key figure during the violent suppression of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.
After being freed from house arrest on Jan. 13, Khin Nyunt, now in his 70s, told journalists that he would not get involved in politics, but instead focus on social work.
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