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Police said on Saturday prominent lawyer and legal advisor to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Ko Ni was shot dead in January as a result of extremist patriotism.
Last week, the office of Burma’s civilian president said a former military officer is suspected to have hired the killer of a prominent lawyer advising Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party, in a likely bid to destabilize the country.
In a rare news conference by the police force and the ministry of Home Affairs, they reconfirmed that the suspects are “extremist patriots”.
“After an investigation, we found out that the murder happened because of extremist patriotism,” Said Lt. Gen Kyaw Swe, Minister of Home Affairs.
In a statement, the office of President Htin Kyaw said former Lieutenant-Colonel Aung Win Khaing, who retired from the army in 2014, was suspected of paying his older brother 100 million kyat ($73,800) to murder Ko Ni.
Currently police have detained 3 suspects in custody, and issued another arrest warrant for the fourth suspect, who is believed to have played an important role in the planning.
“Who is behind Ko Ni? Did one of them do this because they are not satisfied with what Ko Ni is doing? Is it because they want to create problems between the military and the government or between the military and the people? There are many things that we are considering. The case is still under an investigation to find out more.That’s why we need to seek the arrest of Aung Win Khine (the fourth suspect) who is very important,” said Lt. Gen Kyaw Swe.
The killing in January came at a time of renewed communal and religious tension in Buddhist-majority Burma, where a civilian government led by Suu Kyi has ruled for more than 10 months after a formal transition from decades of military rule.
A heavy-handed sweep by security forces in Arakan State, home to many Rohingya Muslims, has led to an estimated 69,000 from the largely stateless community fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh, the United Nations estimates.
The adviser Ko Ni, 63, was a Muslim lawyer who was shot in the head outside Rangoon international airport in a rare act of political violence that rocked Burma’s commercial capital.