Election 2020

Second Unexploded Hand Grenade Found at Residence of Election Official in Myanmar’s Capital

By Thiha Lwin 21 September 2020

NAYPYITAW—Police and explosive ordnance disposal officers found a second unexploded hand grenade at the residence of Naypyitaw Election Sub-Commission Chairman U Thein Htwe in Dekkina Thiri Township at noon on Sunday, following the discovery of a first grenade late Saturday night. Both devices were reportedly thrown into the compound from the street.

The attack came after Myanmar Union Election Commission Chairman U Hla Thein said on Saturday that the 2020 general election scheduled for Nov. 8 would not be postponed, despite some political parties’ request for a delay due to the coronavirus epidemic raging across the country.

Military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told The Irrawaddy that the second grenade was found in the compound after a thorough review of CCTV footage of the residence on Sunday.

“They are real [grenades]. They have detonators. The reason they didn’t explode may be due to some problems with the detonators,” the spokesperson said.

The major general said military experts and local police at the scene had determined the grenades were made in a neighboring country. He did not say which country, adding that security personnel were investigating the incident.

U Thein Htwe declined to comment for the time being. Naypyitaw’s UEC Secretary U Aung Soe Win confirmed the discovery of the second unexploded grenade but said officials were still investigating and he could not provide any additional details.

Prior to the discovery of the second grenade, Police Colonel Kyaw Thiha of the Myanmar Police Force said the first hand grenade was thrown into the residence of U Thein Htwe at about 10 p.m. on Saturday and that police were investigating.

U Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer from nearby Pyinmana Township, condemned the incident as anti-democratic and an act of political violence.

“It is not good. We are against such acts and we have to prevent them from happening in the future. This will not convince the government to delay the election. We cannot accept such intimidation,” he said.

A total of 76 candidates representing 12 political parties will contest for two Upper House seats and eight Lower House seats in the Naypyitaw Union Territory, which comprises Pyinmana, Leiwei, Tat Kone, Zabu Thiri, Zayyar Thiri, Pobba Thiri, Dekkina Thiri and Ottara Thiri townships.

Naypyitaw is home to around 860,000 eligible voters among more than 1 million residents of the capital, including locals, civil servants and military personnel, according to UEC figures released in August.

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