On This Day

The Day a Gov’t-Backed Mob Set Upon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

By Wei Yan Aung 30 May 2019

On this day 16 years ago, pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now the State Counselor of Myanmar, came under attack in Kyee village on the outskirts of Sagaing Region’s Depayin Township in central Myanmar.

The attack, which later became known as the Depayin Massacre, was carried out by government-backed thugs. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her driver managed to escape unharmed.

The then-ruling military regime said four people died and 50 others were injured in the incident, but survivors of the government-orchestrated attack reported much higher figures.

After the massacre, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest for six years, the offices of her National League for Democracy were sealed off, and survivors were imprisoned across the country. The massacre drew strong criticism from members of the public as well as from Western and ASEAN countries.

In his bookMy Life Experience published in 2015, U Khin Nyunt, who served as Secretary-1 of the military’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) at the time of the massacre, writes: “Aung San Suu Kyi was campaigning in a long convoy from place to place, which was a concern for our government. When the convoy of Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Monywa from Mandalay, the SPDC chairman [U Than Shwe] summoned me and four or five other senior leaders and told us to stop the convoy by all means. I said we should not use violence and the leader did not agree with me. Then he did not assign the duty to me, instead asking Lt-Gen. Soe Win to handle it.”

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