Junta accuses Suu Kyi of accepting illegal payments; 8 more protesters killed

Spokesman tells news conference that she had accepted US$600,000 as well as gold while in government

Published Fri, Mar 12, 2021 · 05:50 AM
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Yangon

MYANMAR'S military government accused deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday of accepting illegal payments, while eight people were killed when security forces opened fire on protests against the coup, witnesses said.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told a news conference that Ms Suu Kyi had accepted illegal payments worth US$600,000 as well as gold while in government, according to a complaint by Phyo Mien Thein, a former chief minister of Yangon.

''He strongly said that,'' the spokesman said. ''We have verified those facts several times. Now the anticorruption committee is continuing the investigation.''

He said President Win Myint and several Cabinet ministers had also engaged in corruption, and that the president had pressured the election commission not to act on the military's reports of irregularities.

The army has justified taking power by saying that a November election, overwhelmingly won by Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, was marred by fraud - an assertion rejected by the electoral commission.

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Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun also reiterated that the military would be in charge only for a certain period before holding an election. ''We are on the road to authentic democracy,'' he said.

He added that the unrest in Myanmar is not a situation that should be of concern to the international community, and the West was making as sumptions that were incorrect.

Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun confirmed that a lobbyist had been hired to address an international misperception and said that security forces were disciplined and had used force only when necessary, although he said beatings may have happened on all sides due to provocations.

Rights group Amnesty International accused the military of adopting battle tactics against demonstrators.

Six people were killed in the central town of Myaing when forces fired on a protest, said a man who took part in the demonstration and helped carry bodies to hospital. A health worker there confirmed all six deaths.

''We protested peacefully,'' the 31-year-old man said. ''I couldn't believe they did it.''

One person was killed in the North Dagon district of the biggest city of Yangon, witnesses said. Photographs posted on Facebook showed a man prone on the street, bleeding from a head wound. One death was reported in Mandalay.

Before Thursday's deaths, an advocacy group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, had said more than 60 protesters were killed and about 2,000 people detained by security forces since the Feb 1 coup against Ms Suu Kyi's elected government. REUTERS

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