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Legal adviser to Myanmar's ruling party assassinated at airport

By
Allen Cone
Police and security personnel stand guard at the scene of a shooting Sunday near the entrance of the Yangon International Airport, Yangon, Myanmar. Lawyer Ko Ni, a legal adviser for the National League for Democracy, was shot dead by a gunman. Photo by Nyein Chan Naing/EPA
Police and security personnel stand guard at the scene of a shooting Sunday near the entrance of the Yangon International Airport, Yangon, Myanmar. Lawyer Ko Ni, a legal adviser for the National League for Democracy, was shot dead by a gunman. Photo by Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A gunman assassinated a legal adviser of Myanmar's ruling party outside Yangon's international airport Sunday, officials said.

Ko Ni, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, was shot in the head while getting into a taxi around 5 p.m. after arriving from Indonesia where he was part of a delegation attending a senior leadership meeting in Jakarta, according to the Ministry of Information. The taxi driver also was killed.

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A 53-year-old man from Mandalay, Kyi Linn, has been arrested and is being questioned by police, according to a police report.

No motive was listed for the killing.

"It is a very sorrowful thing for Myanmar, and a very big loss for the country, I have to say," U Win Htein, a senior party official told The Myanmar Times.

Ko Ni, a long-time member of the NLD and a Burmese Muslim, often spoke out in favor of religious tolerance and pluralism.

In late 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party, which fielded no Muslim candidates, won a landslide election victory, ending decades of military led rule.

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Anti-Muslim sentiment, supported by hardline Buddhist nationalists, has increased in Myanmar.

Around 1 million ethnic-Rohingya Muslims are denied citizenship in Myanmar. More than 65,000 Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces began clearing parts of the state in search of Rohingya militants several months ago.

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