YANGON: A candidate for Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition was wounded in a knife attack while canvassing in Yangon, his party said Friday, just over a week before Myanmar holds key elections.
Naing Ngan Linn, a sitting MP for the National League for Democracy, was wounded as his campaign group toured Yangon’s Tharketa Township, where he is contesting, late Thursday.
“(A man) started punching an NLD member. Then people tried to make him go home because he was drunk. But he came back with a large knife,” said Thet Htar Nwe Win, another NLD candidate, who witnessed the incident.
“Naing Ngan Linn tried to stop him . . . that’s why he sustained many injuries,” he told AFP, adding three other NLD members suffered minor wounds.
It was not clear what motivated the attack.
Thet Htar New Win said at least two people had been arrested.
Political tensions are high in former junta-run Myanmar, where Suu Kyi’s opposition is contesting nationwide elections for the first time in a quarter of a century.
The party is likely to make major gains in the vote, potentially tipping the balance of power away from the military and its ruling party allies for the first time in generations.
Myanmar’s elections are set to crown more than four years of reforms that have seen the nation open its doors to the world under a quasi-civilian regime that replaced junta rule in 2011.
The colorful election campaign has largely been calm, although the NLD has complained that its rivals have used religion as a political tool.
Those concerns carry weight in a nation that has seen waves of anti-Muslim violence in recent years.
NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP that the attack on Naing Ngan Linn was “the worst case during our campaign so far” and called for immediate action from police.
His wife Khin Sandar Win said he suffered wounds on his forehead, hands and wrists and had undergone an operation late Thursday. His condition was not life threatening.
“It happened in front of my eyes. The man who attacked was shouting abusive words against NLD when our vehicle arrived,” she told AFP.