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Myanmar asks Interpol to help fight ‘extremism’; global body says it will not interfere

CNA – Global police body Interpol said yesterday it will not provide help to countries in situations that involve domestic politics, days after the Myanmar army announced it had sought support.

The Myanmar army’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday it called on various international security organisations to work with Myanmar to fight “extremism”, citing the actions of its opponents, including the National Unity Government (NUG), the country’s de facto shadow government.

Responding to CNA queries, an Interpol spokesperson said it does not comment on specific cases or specific activities of a member country, apart from in exceptional circumstances.

But the statement added, “Interpol will not provide assistance for any requests which might draw the organisation into matters involving domestic politics such as notices requested for political opponents, critics of a government, or in the context of a coup d’etat.”

The Myanmar-army appointed Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin held a diplomatic briefing session for ambassadors and United Nations (UN) officials on Tuesday in Yangon.

Protesters in Myanmar hit with tear gas at a demonstration in the northwestern town of Kale against the junta. PHOTO: AFP

During the briefing, Wunna Maung Lwin accused the NUG, Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and People’s Defence Force (PDF) of extremist acts such as the killing of innocent civilians and government staff, and damaging public buildings like schools, hospitals and bridges.

CRPH was formed by ousted lawmakers shortly after the February 1 coup. The NUG was later established, followed by the PDF, which is currently waging a ‘People’s Defensive War’ against the military.

In a statement, the Myanmar-army appointed foreign ministry said it had notified the UN’s and ASEAN’s counter-terrorism bodies, the Chiefs of ASEAN Police (ASEANPOL) and Interpol to denounce NUG, CRPH, PDF, calling for “positive cooperation in the fight against extremism”.

The Myanmar army itself has been accused of carrying out mass killings and torture.

In at least two online media conferences over the last month, the NUG presented witness accounts and video footage of what it said is evidence of the Myanmar army committing atrocities against civilians.

The NUG cited a case of a mass killing in Myanmar’s Kayah State on Christmas Eve where more than 30 people, including women and children, were killed and torched in several vehicles.

NUG said it would use the evidence collected to seek legal redress via various international channels, including the International Criminal Court.

Since the coup, over 1,500 civilians are believed to have been killed by the Myanmar army, based on data compiled by Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).