Myanmar junta hints at extending state of emergency

Myanmar’s junta chief had a clue that the military might in future expand a state of emergency and delay promised elections in comments published on Friday, saying greater attempts were required to end unrest. The South-east Asian pariah country has been ruined by disastrous violence since a coup deposed Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s government more than two years ago, unleashing a bloody crackdown on dissent. Thousands of civilians have lost their lives and wounded as the junta battles a clutch of new and constructed rebel groups were against military rulership.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing’s administration has expanded the state of emergency it enforced during the coup several times after giving consideration of constant unrest. On Thursday, he conveyed to a meeting of senior officials that “events of terrorism rejected but went on to occur” in Myanmar, talking about current attacks by anti-coup resistance forces. “Many needs can be considered in enforcement of fully emphasising the safety, serene and stability and rule of law,” he said, according to a Friday military statement outlining the meeting. More than 782 people had lost their lives in hundreds of “terror acts” since the beginning of the year, he added, without mentioning more in depth details.

Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution, which the junta has said is still in charge, needs the rulers to enforce new elections within six months of a state of emergency being lifted. The junta had pledged fresh elections in August of this year, but in February it again expanded the emergency ordinance, a day after its National Defence and Security Council conveyed the situation in the nation had “not gone back to normalcy yet”. After her government was deposed, Ms Suu Kyi, 78, was sentenced in a series of trials that rights groups criticised as fake, and led to 33 years in prison. Thailand’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that he got to see Ms Suu Kyi latest week, her first meeting with a foreign representative since the 2021 coup.