State Counselor to Attend U Ko Ni Memorial Service

By Moe Myint & Htet Naing Zaw 23 February 2017

RANGOON – Burma’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend a memorial service in Rangoon on Sunday to mark one month since prominent National League for Democracy (NLD) legal advisor U Ko Ni and taxi driver U Ne Win were shot and killed at Rangoon International Airport on Jan 29, according to NLD sources.

Vice chairman of the NLD in Rangoon U Soe Win told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that they arranged the event as the State Counselor had indicated that she felt remiss about the period following U Ko Ni’s death, when she was preoccupied by the peace process.

The ceremony will take place at the Royal Rose restaurant in Bahan Township on Sunday, according to the NLD’s press invitation, and will also be attended by Lower House Speaker U Win Myint, Rangoon Division Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, central executive committee members of the NLD, and U Ko Ni’s family members.

Politicians and international observers criticized Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence over U Ko Ni’s death and noted her absence at his funeral. U Ko Ni is credited with creating the position of State Counselor for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as she is barred from the presidency under Article 59(f) of the military-drafted 2008 constitution.

The State Counselor has not contacted U Ko Ni’s grieving family, according to sources close to the family.

NLD steering committee member U Nyan Win declined to comment on whether Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had expressed her condolences to U Ko Ni’s family when contacted by The Irrawaddy.

Last week, the President’s Office named Aung Win Khaing, a former lieutenant colonel in the Burma Army, as the third suspect involved in the assassination.

Aung Win Khaing allegedly paid his elder brother Aung Win Zaw 100 million kyats (US$73,000) to kill U Ko Ni, according to a press statement issued by the President’s Office. The brother Aung Win Zaw then allegedly offered to pay a third man, Kyi Lin, who agreed to shoot the lawyer in exchange for a car.

Gunman Kyi Lin was captured by a mob of taxi drivers on the spot on Feb 29. The following day, the police arrested Aung Win Zaw in Karen State and confessed that his brother Aung Win Khaing was behind the assassination plot. Aung Win Khaing remains at large.