Burmese junta leader says Suu Kyi will appear soon
Burmese junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in good health at home and would appear in court in days, in her first interview since her overthrow in a coup February 1.
The coup plunged the Southeast Asian country into chaos and one of the many ethnic armed groups opposed to the ruling junta advanced on Saturday to attack a military post in a northern jade mining town -west, local media reported.
Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her long struggle against former military leaders, is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup. She faces charges ranging from illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health. She is at home and in good health. She will be tried in court in a few days,” Min Aung Hlaing said via video link with the Hong Kong-based Chinese television station. Phoenix Television on May 20, in clips aired Saturday.
The interviewer asked him what he thought of the performance of Suu Kyi, 75, who is widely admired in the country of 53 million people for his campaign which brought about interim democratic reforms that were interrupted by the Rebellion.
“She tried everything she could,” replied Min Aung Hlaing.
He reiterated that the military came to power because it identified fraud in an election won by Suu Kyi’s party in November – although his accusations were dismissed by the then election commission.
He said the military would hold elections and that potential changes to the constitution had been identified and would be made if they were “the will of the people.”
Suu Kyi’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday in the capital Naypyidaw. So far, she has only appeared via video link and has not yet been allowed to speak directly to her lawyers.
The junta has cited security reasons for not allowing it to speak to its lawyers in private at a time when military authorities have failed to establish control of the country in the face of daily protests, strikes and new insurgencies.
ATTACK ON JADE CITY
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) attacked an army post in Hkamti County in the Sagaing region early on Saturday, online publications Irrawaddy and Mizzima said. The images showed columns of black smoke rising from the stage.
KIA spokesman Naw Bu told Reuters he was aware of the attack but could not give any details. Reuters was unable to contact a junta spokesperson for comment.
Mizzima said the attacked site was near a mining company involving military conglomerate Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd. Independent broadcaster DVB said three members of the security forces were wounded and nine captured by insurgents.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the information.
Since the coup, open conflict has resumed between the military and the KIA, which has been fighting for greater autonomy for the Kachin people for about six decades and has expressed support for the anti-junta protesters.
Mizzima said the military used planes to attack the KIA in Hkamti, a town on the Chindwin River in a remote region rich in jade and gold about 50 km (30 miles) from the border with India. .
The military has carried out numerous bombings against KIA positions in recent weeks and has also clashed with ethnic armies in eastern and western Myanmar.
Security forces have killed at least 812 people since the coup, according to the activist group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.
Min Aung Hlaing said the actual figure was around 300 and 47 police officers were also killed.
Burmese media reported that a soldier was killed in a shootout in the Yangon shopping center on Saturday.
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