Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Unknown assailants gun down family and maid in Yangon

Yangon - Unknown gunmen killed five people in their Yangon home near the US embassy and the compound of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, eyewitnesses said Tuesday.

The assault occurred at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the residence of Thu Zaw, owner of the nearby Fuji House coffee shop, a popular meeting place for dissidents.

When Thu Zaw returned home Monday night he found his father-in-law Saw Kyi Phay, mother-in-law San San Mya, wife Mya Sandar, her sister Hnin Pwint Aye and the maid Naw Ae Phew all dead from gunshot wounds.

The Fuji House Coffee Shop on the University Avenue Road is between SeinLeKanTha State Guest House and Aung San Suu Kyi's compound where the Nobel peace laureate has been under house arrest since May 2003.

The coffee shop, which is also near to the US embassy in Yangon, had been a popular meeting place for anti-government activists in the past, Yangon residents said. It was unclear whether the murders were motivated by politics or a business conflict.

It is unusual in Myanmar, which has been under an authoritative military regime since 1962, for civilians to possess firearms.