Mon 20 Apr 2009
Filed under: News,Obituary
A leader of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), an ethnic armed rebel group that has a ceasefire agreement with Burma’s ruling junta, was assassinated on Saturday by an unidentified gunman, party sources said.
Dr. Min Naung (a.k.a. Naing Min Naung), age 40, a member of the NMSP’s district committee, was shot dead while on his way to buy rations for the party after withdrawing 18 million kyat (approximately US$ 16,360) from a bank in Moulmine, capital of Mon state in Southern Burma.
â€œHe was shot dead in the evening while returning from the bank. He was shot from behind and his chest was wide open. But his money was not taken. The police had confiscated the money,â€ an office worker at the NMSP office in Moulemine told Mizzima.
The staff member said Min Naung was shot from behind with a pistol while driving his motorbike as he returned to Kamarwut village from Moulmine.
The identity and motivation of the gunman remain unknown.
Nai Rarjar, in-charge of the NMSP office in Rangoon, said, â€œHe [Min Naung] died while buying rations for the party before the monsoon. He died while serving the party. We are still investigating into the assassination.
â€œSo far we don’t know who the gunman is and which organization is behind the incident,â€ he added.
According to the Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA), Naing Min Naung was a native of Kamarwut village in Mudon district of Mon state. He was a student at Yesin University in central Burma when he joined the NMSP in 1992.
After serving as a Military Intelligence officer in the NMSP, he was promoted to the district committee during the seventh party conference where he was elected as secretary of the NMSP’s central committee on relief and development. He was shot dead while buying food, mainly rice, for displaced Mon villagers, according to the IMNA.
Naing Rarjar said that looking at the evidence, particularly the bullets, indications are the weapon used by the gunman came from neighboring Thailand.
â€œIt is a great loss for us. It also threatens us from moving around. We don’t know who did it and the reason for doing it. And this has left us worried,â€ he added.
Meanwhile, a NMSP party member, who declined to be named, told Mizzima that Naing Min Naung could have been assassinated by a drug syndicate, as he had effectively worked toward the elimination of drug trafficking while serving as NMSP secretary of Three Pagoda Pass township.
He further said the assassin obviously had greater reasons than monetary ones for the attack, as the 18 million kyat he was carrying was left untouched.
The money and motorbike were reportedly taken to Moulmine police station, while Naing Min Naung’s body was cremated at Moulmine Cemetery.