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High election official in Myanmar assassinated by guerrillas

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BANGKOK — A prime election official in Myanmar was fatally shot in his automobile in Yangon, the nation’s industrial capital, within the newest assault attributed to militants against army rule.

Sai Kyaw Thu, deputy director-general of the military-appointed Union Election Fee, was shot a number of occasions on Saturday, in keeping with the army’s data workplace, media stories and a press release of accountability from an city guerrilla group.

The knowledge workplace on Sunday stated the assault was carried out by the Folks’s Protection Drive, the loosely organized armed wing of the pro-democracy Nationwide Unity Authorities, an underground group that opposes the military-installed authorities that was established when the military seized energy two years in the past.

Many opposition forces together with native Folks’s Protection Drive teams function autonomously from the Nationwide Unity Authorities however the army labels all of them as “terrorists.”

A resistance group calling itself “For The Yangon” stated it carried out the assault on Sai Kyaw Thu, a former lieutenant colonel. It declared “Mission: Completed” in a Facebook submit on Saturday night that was illustrated with three pictures of their goal.

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Sai Kyaw Thu is believed to be essentially the most senior official of the Election Fee to be shot because the military seized energy on Feb. 1, 2021, from the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Resistance teams earlier this 12 months tried to disrupt preparations for a brand new election the army had promised by attacking personnel conducting a inhabitants survey that might be used to assemble voter rolls and different low-level election employees. Plans for the polls, whose date was by no means set, have been set again indefinitely in February when the army authorities introduced it was extending a state of emergency because of safety issues.

City guerrillas have carried out many focused killings, acts of arson and small bombings. Victims included officers and members of the army and their cronies, in addition to individuals believed to be informers or army collaborators.

In November 2021, a former navy officer who was the chief finance officer of Myanmar’s military-linked Mytel telecommunications firm was fatally shot on a Yangon road. Than Than Swe, then a deputy governor of Myanmar’s Central Financial institution, was shot at her dwelling in Yangon in April 2022. She survived and was promoted to the financial institution governor.

Most just lately, a veteran company lawyer accused of serving to army leaders was shot {dead} in Yangon by self-proclaimed city guerrillas in March.

After its takeover, the military clamped down harshly on opponents within the cities, arresting hundreds and utilizing lethal drive even in opposition to nonviolent demonstrators. The repression, which has now accounted for greater than 3,400 civilian deaths, triggered widespread armed resistance.

The army dismissed the members of the earlier election fee — which had ratified the victory of Suu Kyi’s occasion in a November 2020 normal election — and appointed new ones. It additionally detained a number of members of the {old} fee, and in keeping with stories in impartial Myanmar media, pressured them to say there had been election fraud.

The brand new military-appointed fee declared the 2020 election outcomes invalid and prosecuted Suu Kyi and 15 different senior political figures for alleged fraud.

Within the assertion, “For The Yangon” claimed Sai Kyaw Thu had been a plaintiff within the election fraud case in opposition to Suu Kyi. She and ousted President Win Myint and the previous minister of the president’s workplace, Min Thu, acquired three-year sentences in September final 12 months in that case.

A member of guerrilla group stated in a textual content message on Sunday that Sai Kyaw Thu was assassinated “for being the deputy director-general of the unlawful election fee of the army council, which disrespected the votes of the individuals in 2020 normal election and abused the individuals unjustly, and in addition for being the one who falsely prosecuted President Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi as an adjunct of the army council.”

“The one who insults the general public might be punished by the individuals,” stated the member of group, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he fears arrest by the authorities.

In accordance with stories in Myanmar’s impartial media, Sai Kyaw Thu was cross-examined as a prosecution witness within the trials in opposition to Suu Kyi final 12 months.

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