June 23, 2024

Myanmar junta hints at extending state of emergency

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Myanmar’s junta chief hinted the military may further extend a state of emergency and delay promised elections in comments published Friday, saying greater efforts were needed to end unrest.

The Southeast Asian pariah nation has been ravaged by deadly violence since a coup deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s government more than two years ago, unleashing a bloody crackdown on dissent.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured as the junta battles a clutch of new and established rebel groups opposed to military rule.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing’s administration has extended the state of emergency it imposed during the coup multiple times after giving acknowledgements of continuing unrest.

On Thursday, he told a meeting of senior officials that “events of terrorism declined but continued to occur” in Myanmar, in reference to ongoing attacks by anti-coup resistance forces.

“Many requirements can be seen in implementation of fully emphasizing the security, peace and stability and rule of law,” he said, according to a Friday military statement outlining the meeting.

More than 782 people had been killed in hundreds of “terror acts” since the start of the year, he added, without giving further details.

Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 constitution, which the junta has said is still in force, requires authorities to hold fresh elections within six months of a state of emergency being lifted.

The junta had promised fresh elections in August of this year but in February it again extended the emergency ordinance, a day after its National Defense and Security Council said the situation in the country had “not returned to normalcy yet”.

After her government was deposed, Suu Kyi, 78, was convicted in a series of trials that rights groups slammed as a sham, and sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Thailand’s foreign minister said Wednesday that he met with Suu Kyi last week, her first known meeting with a foreign envoy since the 2021 coup.

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©️ Agence France-Presse

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