Myanmar opposition candidate vows to return after machete attack

Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Myanmar MP from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who was attacked with a machete while electioneering in Yangon is still in hospital but wants to return to the campaign trail.

Naing Ngan Lin, a National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate, was expecting more surgery but was keen to get back on the campaign trail, according to his wife.

Khin Sandar Win said her husband, who is standing in Thaketa in the November 8 election, still had badly injured hands.

Despite also suffering head wounds, he intended to ask doctors to allow him to attend an NLD rally on November 4, she said.

She said his mind was clear and he remembered the attack well despite losing consciousness.

“He is willing to appear and show his face to voters in the campaign rally on November 4,” Khin Sandar Win said. “We hope doctors will permit us.”

Three men have been arrested over the attack on Naing Ngan Lin while he was campaigning in Yangon’s Thaketa township, where he is running for a regional parliamentary seat. He is currently a Lower House MP for Dekkhinathiri in Nay Pyi Taw.

Police said initial inquiries suggested that the attack was not targeted at any individual in the NLD entourage.

Naing Ngan Lin was attacked after a man ordered party members to stop driving their decorated floats through the neighbourhood.

After they ignored him, the man then allegedly returned with a machete and joined two men with wooden sticks, according to Wai Phyo Aung, another NLD Thaketa candidate, who was present.

“One of the guys came out and started yelling at the car. He returned with two other men with machetes and attacked the people around the campaign truck,” Aung Myo Oo, an NLD campaign manager told Reuters.

Thaketa police said the alleged principal attacker, Zaw Latt, had been drinking alcohol at a shop

The NLD has reported numerous cases of alleged violence and electoral fraud to the Union Election Commission in recent months.

It is particularly unhappy with the electoral roll, which it claims contains many errors and omissions.

The machete attack will raise security concerns for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi days before the historic election.

She has toured the country without major incidents, galvanizing crowds with a message of sweeping change, faster reforms and establishing peaceful relations ethnic minorities.

The election is potentially a crucial step for the country as it builds a political system after nearly 50 years of military rule ended in 2011 with the establishment of a quasi-civilian administration, dominated by former military officers.

The military remains a powerful force in politics under a constitution it drafted in 2008 despite Suu Kyi’s efforts to amend it.

Suu Kyi is banned from becoming president under the 2008 constitution though she is a member of parliament and her party is expected to play a major role in electing the president after the general election.

Parties have complained that their posters being damaged and that some supporters were being intimidated, but the Thaketa attack marks the most serious case of election-related violence.

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