Yangon – Myanmar’s political parties have condemned Saturday’s assassination of a newly elected MP in northern Shan State and called for the murderers to be found.
U Htike Zaw won an Upper House seat in the Nov. 8 general election for the National League for Democracy (NLD). He was shot by unidentified armed men at his Pin Tain village home in Kyaukme Township on Saturday evening.
He was shot at 6:30pm and died 25 minutes later at Kyaukme Hospital.
Dr. Myo Nyunt, an NLD central executive committee member, told The Irrawaddy on Sunday that all party members needed to be alert about the threat posed by those who oppose the peace process and moves towards a federal democracy.
He called on NLD supporters to abide by the law in response to the murder as acts of political violence might aim to spark an illegal reaction.
Other political parties, including the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD), Ta’ang National Party and Kachin State People’s Party, condemned the assassination and expressed their condolences for U Htike Zaw’s family.
Dr. Min Zaw Oo, the executive director of the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the assassination could mark the beginning of a culture of political violence.
“It is unacceptable. It is important that all political parties oppose this kind of violence” he said.
The French ambassador, Christian Lecherv, in a statement strongly condemned the cowardly assassination and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
The US Embassy in Yangon also expressed its condolences to the victim’s family in a statement.
On Nov. 14, the house of Kyaukme Township’s election sub-commission chair was shot at by unidentified gunmen. No one was injured.
Several armed groups operate in Kyaukme, including Myanmar’s military, military-backed militias and ethnic Ta’ang and Shan armed groups.
In November 2019, three members of the SNLD were shot dead by an armed group in Kyaukme Township.
According to the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security in the township, there have been 20 attacks targeting unarmed civilians since 2016. About 31 civilians have been killed in the attacks.
Few of those responsible have been brought to justice.
A further 107 civilians have died in 63 mine explosions since 2016.
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