Myanmar military coup: 24 hours later, whereabouts of Aung San Suu Kyi remains unknown
The whereabouts of the elected leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and 24 other ministers remained unknown as 24 hours passed after their arrest in a military coup. The army had early on Monday seized control of the country and imposed a state of emergency for a year. After seizing power, General Min Aung Hlaing promised a free and fair election and a handover of power to the winning party, without giving a timeframe.
The army has also named 11 ministers as replacements to oversee ministries including finance, defence, foreign affairs and interior.
Among the people who were arrested in the coup on Monday included a Buddhist monk Shwe Nya War Sayadawa who is known for his outspoken support for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD). The arrest takes significance as monks are a powerful political force in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
The coup followed a landslide win for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party in November elections, a result the military has refused to accept citing allegations of fraud.
What is the current situation
Troops and riot police marched on the streets of Myanmar. Military helicopters also flew across the city. However, no unrest was reported as of Tuesday morning.
In the capital Nayptaw, army and police vehicles have taken position. The situation is similar at Yangon, the main commercial centre of Myanmar.
Meanwhile, phone and internet connections have been restored. Markets that are otherwise bustling were quiet. Yangon airport is also closed, as per Reuters report. Banks are expected to open reopen today.
US threatens sanctions
In view of the military seize, the US threatened Myanmar of the reimposition of sanctions. "The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” President Joe Biden said in a statement released by the White House, referring to the country by its previous name. Biden also said that the coup was a direct assault on Myanmar's transition to democracy and the rule of law, and said his administration would be watching how other countries responded.
Concerns over Rohingya refugees
One of the key concerns for UN diplomats is the fate of Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minority groups who were driven out of the country by the military and are living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh, which is sheltering about 1 million Rohingya, called for "peace and stability" in the region and said it hoped a process to repatriate the refugees could move forward.
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet later on Tuesday, Reuters reported citing diplomats. In condemation led by the United Nations, leaders of the democratic countries including Australia, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States called for the release of detainees and restoration of democracy.
(With agency inputs)
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