Party cancels campaigning after two members shot

YANGON — The chairman of the Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party has expressed shock after two TNDP supporters were gunned down at Hpakant in Kachin State earlier this month.

U Sai Hay Aung said the TNDP had cancelled campaigning in Hpakant because the people were too frightened to attend candidates’ election speeches. “I want to tell the groups who hate us to please talk with us; do not kill our members,” he told Frontier on October 14, adding that his door was open every day for anyone who wanted to talk.

The deaths of the two men in the town earlier this month had frightened the party’s supporters and they were too scared to continue campaigning, said U Sai Htay Aung, adding that the TNDP had been attracting a lot of support from local people.

“The party is getting more and more support in Kachin, so some groups are jealous and hate us,” he said. State-run newspapers reported that the bodies of TNDP members U Tun Lwin, 32, and U Kan Sat, 46, were found in Hpakant with gunshot wounds on October 5 and 6 respectively. U Sai Htay Aung said party candidates needed special security arrangements to be able to continue campaigning.

The secretary of the Election Commission in Hpakant, U Min Kyaw, said it was not known if the deaths of the two men were politically related. He said any request from the TNDP for security would be referred to the police and the General Administration Department.

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