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Police refuse to arrest attackers of opposition members

Apr 20, 2009 (DVB), Police have told opposition party members who were attacked by a mob led by a government official that their assailants will not be arrested because government authorities have not permissed them to do so.

Two members of the National League for Democracy's youth wing were attacked on 18 April whilst on their way to a religious new year ceremony in Rangoon's Twente township.

The youth coordinator of Twente NLD, Ye Htut Khaung, said that the two members, a male and a female, were set upon by about 30 local people led by a ward official named Pauk Pauk.

"The mob trapped them in front of a nearby monastery and started throwing punches at them," said Ye Htut Khaung.

Other NLD youth members who arrived at the scene shortly after were told by the ward official that the attack was done out of a hatred of the NLD.

Yet when the incident was reported to police, the victims were told that police had no authority to conduct an arrest.

"Deputy police chief Thein Zaw Oo at the station told them they could not arrest the attackers as they didn't get permission from [Twente Peace and Development Council] chairman, Aung Zan Thar, to do so," said Ye Htut Khaung.

This attack followed a separate incident on 12 April in Twente in which another NLD youth member was attacked by a group of seven men led by a local Union Solidarity and Development Association member.

The USDA is a government-affiliated social organisation.

No action was taken by the police after Win Kyaing reported the incident, but he was himself charged yesterday for obscenity and assault.

In another separate incident, NLD central executive committee member and 1990-elected people's parliament representative, Thein Nyunt, was hospitalised last week after being attacked by a man at his house in Thingangyun, Rangoon, said his son.

"The police gave full attention to our report and they sent a detective to the hospital," said Khine Min, who added that the motive behind the assault was unclear.

Reporting by Yee May Aung and Khin Hnin Htet


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