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Aung San Suu Kyi party official killed in Myanmar's Rakhine state

Myanmar has been accused of committing genocide against its Rohingya population [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2019

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A Myanmar ruling party official has been killed after being held for weeks by an armed group in Rakhine state.
An official from Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party was killed in Myanmar's Rakhine state, as accusations over genocide mount against the country's leaders. 

Ye Thein, who was the the National League for Democracy (NLD) party's chairman in Buthidaung township died after planning a show of support for Suu Kyi’s defence of Myanmar against genocide allegations at The Hague. 

Thein had been held for weeks by the Arakan army, a Myanmar armed group fighting for Rakhine Buddhists. 

The armed rebels in Rakhine revealed that Thein died on Monday, following two weeks of being held for organising protests against genocide accusations the country faces at the International Court of Justice.

“Due to big explosions, some detainees died and some were wounded. The NLD chairman from Buthidaung, Ye Thein, died on the scene,” the Arakan Army said in a statement. 

“We, all members of NLD, are very sorry for the loss,” Myo Nyunt told AFP. “His gathering to support her was righteous and it was not a crime”. 

This comes after the Arakan army carried out a series of daring kidnappings, bombings and raids against local officials in the Rakhine state.



Myanmar's military has hit back hard, deploying thousands of additional soldiers to the western state and carrying out what Amnesty International "called enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions”. 

The clashes are taking place in the same area where the military drove around 740,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border to Bangladesh in a bloody 2017 campaign.

The small African, mainly Muslim state of Gambia opened arguments against Buddhist-majority Myanmar at the International Court of Justice on December 10 accusing it of breaching the 1948 UN genocide convention in its operations against the Rohingya.

Backed by the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Canada and the Netherlands, Gambia sought emergency measures to prevent further violence against the Rohingya, pending a fuller case that could take years.

The Arakan Army said ahead of the hearings that it endorsed the case in a rare display of solidarity with Rohingya who are seen in Myanmar as non-citizens.

Suu Kyi stunned observers when she agreed to lead a team to The Hague in mid-December to represent Myanmar.

The former democracy icon's reputation lies in tatters over the crisis but at home she enjoys broad support and several events across the country were organised to cheer her on.

Suu Kyi said in her opening statement there was no proof of "genocidal intent" and said army operations were in response to Rohingya militant attacks.

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