Candidate from Suu Kyi's party hurt in knife attack

Mr Naing Ngan Linn at Yangon General Hospital on Thursday. He was touring Yangon's Tharketa township as part of the NLD's election campaign when the attack happened.
Mr Naing Ngan Linn at Yangon General Hospital on Thursday. He was touring Yangon's Tharketa township as part of the NLD's election campaign when the attack happened.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Assailant said to be drunk; motive for attack during opposition campaigning not clear

YANGON • A candidate from Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party was hurt in a knife attack while canvassing in Yangon, the National League for Democracy (NLD) said yesterday, just over a week before Myanmar holds key elections.

Mr Naing Ngan Linn, a sitting MP for the NLD, was wounded as his campaign group toured Yangon's Tharketa township, where he is contesting, late on Thursday.

"(A man) started punching an NLD member. Then people tried to make him go home because he was drunk. But he came back with a large knife," said Mr Thet Htar Nwe Win, another NLD candidate, who witnessed the incident.

"Naing Ngan Linn tried to stop him... that's why he sustained many injuries," he told Agence France-Presse, adding that three other NLD members suffered minor wounds. It was not clear what motivated the attack.

Mr Thet Htar New Win said at least two people had been arrested. Political tensions are high in Myanmar, where Ms Suu Kyi's opposition party is contesting nationwide polls for the first time in a quarter of a century. The party is likely to make major gains in the vote, potentially tipping the balance of power away from the military and its ruling party allies for the first time in generations.

Myanmar's elections are set to crown more than four years of reforms that have seen the nation open its doors to the world under a quasi-civilian regime that replaced junta rule in 2011.

The colourful election campaign has largely been calm, although the NLD has complained that its rivals have used religion as a political tool. Those concerns carry weight in a nation that has seen waves of anti- Muslim violence in recent years.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP that the attack on Mr Naing Ngan Linn was "the worst case during our campaign so far", and called for immediate action from police.

The victim's wife, Ms Khin Sandar Win, said he suffered wounds on his forehead, hands and wrists, and underwent an operation late on Thursday. His condition was not life threatening.

"The man who attacked was shouting abusive words against NLD when our vehicle arrived," she said.

Meanwhile, a student leader who has been on the run since March, following protests calling for education reform, has been arrested, police said yesterday, the latest detention over rallies that saw dozens arrested.

The student, Kyaw Ko Ko, is president of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions.

He was arrested over a protest in Yangon seven months ago supporting student activists in the central town of Letpadan, whose rallies were brought to an end in a violent crackdown by the authorities.

Around 54 students are currently being detained and awaiting trial near Letpadan as rights groups accuse Myanmar of returning to tactics of suppression used under military rule.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Candidate from Suu Kyi's party hurt in knife attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe