Detained Aung San Suu Kyi in ‘good health’, says NLD official

Comments by party official come before UN Security Council meeting on military’s latest seizure of power in Myanmar.

Myanmar citizens in Bangkok, Thailand hold up a picture of leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the military seized power in a coup in Myanmar [Jorge Silva/Reuters]

A senior official from the party of Myanmar’s detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said he has learned that her health is good and that she was not being moved from the location where she is being held after a military coup against her government.

The whereabouts and condition of Myanmar’s elected leader have not been made public since she was arrested in the capital, Naypyidaw, by the military during Monday’s power grab.

“There is no plan to move Daw Aung San Su Kyi and Doctor Myo Aung. It’s learned that they are in good health,”  Kyi Toe, a member of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) central information committee, said in a Facebook post which also referred to one of her allies.

It was not immediately clear how Kyi Toe had obtained the information.

He also posted that NLD members of parliament arrested during the coup were being allowed to leave the quarters where they had been held.

A politician from the NLD, who requested anonymity, said Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest at her official residence in Naypyidaw.

“We were informed not to worry. However, we are worrying. It will be a relief if we can see a photo,” he told AFP news agency.

Yangon-based analyst Khin Zaw Win said it appeared Aung San Suu Kyi was safe for now.

“All reports indicate she is not in danger,” he said.

But it is likely the military has made a strategic decision to keep her hidden, Herve Lemahieu, from Australia’s Lowy Institute, said.

“I think the idea is very much to keep her away from public view … she’s being kept in Naypyidaw … far from all the major population centres where protesters may rally. I think that’s a deliberate choice,” Lemahieu told AFP.

It is in the military’s interest to ensure Aung San Suu Kyi remains in good health, he said.

“Senior officials realise if she were to fall ill or die whilst under arrest people would suspect foul play and that may well provoke a very severe backlash,” Lemahieu said.

Meanwhile, various activist groups on Tuesday issued a flurry of messages on social media urging civil disobedience.

On Tuesday evening across the country’s commercial hub of Yangon, residents honked car horns and clattered pots and pans in protest at the coup following a social media campaign. Some chanted “Long live mother Suu”.

One of the first calls for specific action to oppose the coup came from the Yangon Youth Network, one of Myanmar’s biggest activist groups.

Doctors at a hospital in the city of Mandalay had also begun a similar campaign.

Any street protests will raise alarm in a country with a grim record of military crackdowns.

It came as the UN Security Council was due to meet on Tuesday amid international calls for a strong global response to the military’s latest seizure of power just 10 years since the end of half-a-century of direct military rule.

The United States threatened to reimpose sanctions on the generals who seized power.

The coup followed a landslide win for the NLD in an election on November 8, a result the military has refused to accept citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

The army handed power to its commander, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and imposed a state of emergency for a year, crushing hopes that the country was on the path to a stable democracy.

The NLD’s executive committee demanded the release of all detainees “as soon as possible”.

In a post on the Facebook page of senior party official May Win Myint, the committee also called for the military to acknowledge the election results and for the new parliament to be allowed to sit. It had been due to meet on Monday for the first time since the election.

The military’s detention of Aung San Suu Kyi – who became a beacon for democracy in the 1990s and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – has revived memories of her more than 15 years of house arrest at a lakeside villa in Yangon during the country’s last period of military rule.

The 75-year-old endured about 15 years of house arrest between 1989 and 2010 as she led a democracy movement against the military, which had seized power in a 1962 coup and stamped out all dissent for decades until her party came to power in 2015.

Source: News Agencies