Election 2020

19 Arrested After Mob Attack on NLD Member’s House in Central Myanmar

By San Yamin Aung 6 October 2020

YANGON — Nineteen people allegedly involved in a mob attack on a prominent regional National League for Democracy (NLD) member’s house on Saturday night have been arrested, according to the Magwe Region authorities.

Around 100 people raided the house of the NLD’s Myaing Township executive committee member, U Myint Naing. The incident occurred at around 7:30 pm on Saturday after U Myint Naing argued with a villager named Ko Ne Win, purportedly over the playing of the party’s campaign song.

U Myint Naing reported that Ko Ne Win came to his house and told him to stop playing the song. He then allegedly attacked the NLD member with a knife, causing a neck injury.

Relatives and associates of Ko Ne Win then gathered and attacked the house.

U Myint Naing’s House in Kanni village after Saturday’s attack. / Daung Alan / Facebook

“The village administrator was there to end the dispute. But the mob attacked and caused damage,” Myaing Township administrator U Thant Zin Khaing said.

NLD regional lawmaker U Thet Naing of Myaing Township, who arrived at the scene after U Myint Naing sought help, told The Irrawaddy that the attackers surrounded the house and threw petrol bombs at the property. As the police led U Myint Naing and his family to safety, attackers smashed the windows and door and destroyed vehicles and possessions inside the house.

Some villagers told the media that Ko Ne Win was beaten by three people, including U Myint Naing, during the quarrel and they rioted in response to the violence. They demanded the arrest of U Myint Naing. Ko Ne Win needed hospital treatment after the incident.

U Thant Zin Khaing said he did not think the attack was about the campaign song as Ko Ne Win was carrying a knife and the attackers were armed with petrol bombs.

Lampposts near U Myint Naing house were destroyed and the district police chief’s car and other vehicles, including U Thant Zin Khaing’s car, were also pelted with stones as they took U Myint Naing and his family away, U Thant Zin Khaing added.

U Myint Naing’s House in Kanni village after Saturday’s attack. / Daung Alan / Facebook

NLD regional lawmaker U Thet Naing told The Irrawaddy that Kanni village is a stronghold of the Union Solidarity and Development Party and in 2015 those involved in Saturday’s attack prevented NLD campaign vehicles from entering the village.

“Even if U Myint Naing was rude to them, attacking with a knife, trespassing in his home and causing damage are unacceptable acts. Around 15 police officers could not stop them,” he added.

The authorities have opened a case against 32 people involved in the attack for the destruction of public property and U Myint Naing has also opened cases for vandalism and trespassing.

“We will arrest the remaining 13 suspects and enforce the law,” U Thant Zin Khaing said.

Several other incidents of election-related violence have been reported since campaigning began on Sept. 8, including threats, destruction of campaign posters, rioting and the use of hand grenades to intimidate an election official in Naypyitaw.

Additional reporting by Htun Htun

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