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Myanmar military detains Aung San Su Kyi, president in apparent coup

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Myanmar’s army has declared a state of emergency after detaining leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party in an early morning raid.

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In an apparent coup, power has been handed to Commander in Chief of the country’s armed forces, Min Aung Hlaing.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.

Spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy Myo Nyunt told Reuters on Monday morning Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.

Phone lines to Naypyitaw, the capital, were not reachable in the early hours of Monday.

A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking comment.

An NLD lawmaker, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, said another of those detained was Han Thar Myint, a member of the party’s central executive committee.

Military officials on Sunday denied their chief had threatened to stage a coup over complaints of election fraud, saying the media had misinterpreted his words.

Political tension soared last week after a spokesman for the military, which had ruled Myanmar for five decades, said a coup could not be ruled out if its complaints of widespread fraud in November’s election were ignored.

The commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, told senior officers in a speech Wednesday the constitution could be revoked if the laws were not being properly enforced.

Adding to the concern was the unusual deployment of armoured vehicles in the streets of several large cities.

Saturday’s statement from the military, known as the Tatmadaw, said “some organizations and media” wrote without foundation that the military threatened to revoke the constitution.

The statement said Min Aung Hlaing’s speech was taken out of context and was actually an observation to senior officer trainees on the nature of the constitution.

The ruling National League for Democracy party captured 396 out of 476 seats in the November 8 election, allowing it to form a government led by Suu Kyi for another five years.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won only 33 seats.

The military has publicly complained several times of mass electoral fraud and called for an official review of the results.

-AAP

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