(Reuters) – Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy said on Monday (Feb. 1).
The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.
Spokesman Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone that Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning.
“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.
A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking comment.
An NLD lawmaker, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, said another of those detained was Han Thar Myint, a member of the party’s central executive committee.
Myanmar state media MRTV is having technical issues and is unable to broadcast, the network said on Monday, just hours after the governing National League for Democracy party said leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures were detained.
“Due to current communication difficulties, we’d like to respectfully inform you that the regular programmes of MRTV and Myanmar Radio cannot be broadcast,” Myanmar Radio and Television said on a post on its Facebook page.
Tensions had been rising between the civilian government and the powerful military since last November’s election, which the army claims was fraudulent.
Last week the military declined to rule out a coup to overturn the National League for Democracy’s election victory, prompting other countries to warn against “any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition”.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told Sky News that residents of Myanmar were reporting soldiers on the streets but communication was difficult, as internet and phone networks had been disrupted. The state TV station also stopped broadcasting, blaming technical problems.
Mr Farmaner said that in recent years, Myanmar had been governed by Ms Suu Kyi’s civilian government but the military had retained control of the most important ministries and security forces.
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