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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Myanmar junta hints at extending emergency

Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing addresses a meeting of Myanmar government officials on Thursday in Nay Pyi Taw. (Photo: Myanmar Military Information Team via AFP)

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

The country has been convulsed by deadly violence since a coup led by Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing deposed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi more than two years ago, unleashing a bloody crackdown on dissent.

Nearly 3,800 civilians have been killed and 24,000 injured as the junta battles a clutch of new and established rebel groups opposed to military rule.

Min Aung Hlaing’s administration has extended the state of emergency it imposed during the coup multiple times after acknowledging that unrest was continuing.

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 emphasising the security, peace and stability and rule of law,” he said, according to a statement released by the military on Friday.

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

The 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 Defence and Security Council said the situation in the country had “not returned to normalcy yet”.

After her government was deposed, Aung San Suu Kyi, 78, was convicted in a series of trials that rights groups slammed as a sham, and sentenced to 33 years in prison. She is appealing her convictions and sentencing at the Supreme Court this month.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai met with Aung San Suu Kyi last Sunday while on a visit to Nay Pyi Taw. He said the 78-year-old Nobel peace laureate was in good health and encouraged all sides in the conflict to try to have a dialogue.

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