YANGON — A crude petrol bomb was tossed Thursday morning into the residential compound of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but she was not at home and damage was minor, officials said.
Suu Kyi was in the capital Naypyitaw when the incident took place, government spokesman Zaw Htay said.
Suu Kyi’s main residence and the target of the petrol bomb is in the country’s biggest city, Yangon. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate lived there under house arrest for several years during military rule while she headed her pro-democracy movement. Her National League for Democracy party took power in 2012.
Zaw Htay said witnesses saw an unidentified man running away from the residence, after which police found an exploded bottle with gasoline traces inside the compound that had burned external water pipes. He did not speculate on possible motives.
Suu Kyi is hugely popular among Myanmar’s majority Buddhists, but has been heavily criticized abroad for failing to stake a stand against army abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority.
She holds the official positions of state counselor and foreign minister. The job of state counselor was created especially for her so she could be the country’s chief executive despite a constitutional clause instituted under military rule that barred her from becoming president.
Zaw Htay said a video made by a passenger in a passing car showed the alleged bomb-thrower fleeing the scene, and police were searching for a male suspect.
Makeshift barricades were hastily erected on the street outside the residence soon after the attack.
Suu Kyi’s personal security used to be a major concern when she led opposition to military rule.
In 1996, she was the target of an apparent assassination attempt that her supporters speculated was orchestrated by a faction of the military. She and her party’s deputy leader were in a motorcade on a remote road in northern Myanmar when they were waylaid by a group of about 200 thugs who smashed up their car until their driver was able to make a getaway. Several supporters who were in other cars were killed.
No one was charged in the attack.