Suu Kyi’s house firebombed

A petrol bomb has been thrown at the famous lakeside home of Myanmar’s State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Rumours apparently spread in the multicultural city that the attacker, who only caused minor damage, was a Muslim. Overcrowded Yangon is exceedingly diverse and an obvious site for ethnic hatred to ignite into violence amid the ongoing Rohingya crisis on the Bangladeshi border.

A photo was posted on Facebook of a man in his 40s wearing a pink T-shirt and blue longyi.

Suu Kyi was held under house arrest by the military at the home for 15 years until 2010. She would occasionally lean over the former gates in appearances that galvanised the Burmese democracy movement.

The de-facto prime minister spends most of her time in her government residence in the sprawling capital, Nay Pyi Taw. She was in the capital at the time of the attack, addressing parliament.

In 2003 a convoy carrying Suu Kyi was attacked by a military-connected mob as she travelled across the country in an incident widely seen as an attempt by the former junta to have her killed.

At least 680,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the Bangladeshi border since August 25, 2017, reporting indiscriminate killings, mass rapes, arson attacks and destruction of property in Rakhine State.

More than five mass graves have reportedly been found in a Rakhine village this week, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Gu Dar Pyin survivors in refugee camps in Bangladesh reportedly showed the news agency time-stamped videos from mobile phones of the alleged mass graves.

One man, Noor Kadir, said how he had been with 14 friends in the village on August 27 when they came under fire from soldiers who killed 11 of them.

Nay Pyi Taw claims no massacres of the Rohingya happened and only acknowledged one mass grave in a different area, which it said contained the bodies of 10 “terrorists”.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told Suu Kyi that she should not worry about human rights activists, dismissing them as “just a noisy bunch”.

Duterte said he made the remarks in New Delhi, where Suu Kyi was also attending an Asean summit.

“We were talking about our country, the interest of our country … and I said ‘do not mind the human rights’, they are just a noisy bunch actually,” Duterte told the media.

The United Nations described the Rohingya crackdown as ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

“I pity her because she seems to be caught in the middle of being a Nobel Prize winner for peace and, this is now the ruckus, she is heavily criticised,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s has also been heavily criticised for his bloody “war on drugs”, in which more than 3,900 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed.


Razor wire and frangipanis at Aung San Suu Kyi’s famous Yangon home. Picture credit: Asean Economist