YANGON (Reuters) - A member of parliament from Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was recovering on Friday after being slashed with a machete in the first serious violence in a campaign for historic Nov.8 elections, a party official said.
Three men attacked National League for Democracy (NLD) member Naing Ngan Lynn, who in running for a regional assembly seat in the commercial capital of Yangon, and two other people while he was campaigning on Thursday evening.
Police had detained the attackers at a police station. Their motives were not known.
“After an operation early this morning, he’s in a safe condition and not in a critical condition any more. His life is not in danger,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win told Reuters.
“We have no idea what are the motives for the attack and who is behind it. It’s important to take effective legal action after investigation,” said Nyan Win.
The attack will raise security concerns ahead of a rally by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi in Yangon on Sunday. A big crowd is expected.
She has criss-crossed the country without major incidents, galvanizing crowds with a message of sweeping change, faster reforms and a state respectful of ethnic minorities.
The election is a crucial step for the country as it builds a political system and bolsters institutions after nearly 50 years of military rule ended in 2011.
The military remains a powerful force in politics under a constitution it drafted in 2008 despite Suu Kyi’s efforts to amend it.
Suu Kyi is banned from becoming president under the constitution though she is a member of parliament and her party is expected to play a major role in electing the president after the general election.
Tension has been running high in the run-up to the polls, in which the NLD is expected to trounce the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Parties have complained that their posters being damaged and that some supporters were being intimidated, but the attack marks the most serious case of election-related violence.
A witness said Naing Ngan Lynn was slashed in the head and arm.
“One of the guys came out and started yelling at the car. He returned with two other men with machetes and attacked the people around the campaign truck,” Aung Myo Oo, an NLD campaign manager told Reuters late on Thursday.
Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski, Soe Zeya Tun and Timothy McLaughlin; Editing by Andrew Roche, Robert Birsel