Senior USDP official’s home bombed in Naypyitaw

An explosion occurred at the house of Mya Nyein, executive advisor of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), on Tuesday morning in Naypyitaw. 

A source close to the USDP in Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s capital city, confirmed that the upper floor of Mya Nyein’s house in Shwe Kyar Pin ward, Zabuthiri Township, was damaged in the explosion. 

Mya Nyein, 77, served as the deputy speaker of the Amyotha Hluttaw—Myanmar’s upper parliamentary chamber—from 2011 to 2015 in the USDP’s quasi-civilian government, which came to power as the immediate successor to the Than Shwe military regime. 

The attack on his home was also referenced in pro-military social media propaganda posts. 

Mya Nyein’s house in Naypyitaw’s Shwe Kyar Pin ward seen after the explosion (Supplied)

According to police records, two caretakers were at the house when the explosion occurred but no one was hurt. The blast destroyed the balcony floor and fragments of lead and iron believed to be from explosives were found at the scene. 

The Naypyitaw-based Sittaung Urban Guerrilla Force claimed responsibility for the attack. One of the guerrilla force’s officers said the grenade used in the attack had been made at a factory run by the military council’s Directorate of Defence Industries, also known by its Burmese abbreviation Ka Pa Sa.

“Mya Nyein has always had a terrorist mindset. You can see it clearly from his campaign speeches [in 2015],” the officer said. “The coup was carried out by Min Aung Hlaing and a group of supporters. He was among that group and is now cooperating with the junta. We attacked his home because we knew about that.”

In a video of the incident shown to Myanmar Now, a loud explosion can be heard from the courtyard of Mya Nyein’s home. The extent of the damage could not be assessed with certainty as the video was recorded at night and from a distance. 

Before his deputy speakership in the Upper House, Mya Nyein was a civilian who had retired from his position as Director General of the Union Attorney General’s Office in 2007.

A month before the National League of Democracy (NLD) won the November 2015 general election in a landslide, Mya Nyein gave a widely condemned speech at a USDP rally, in which he stoked fears about the NLD by recalling the 1983 bombing of the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon. 

“Red should not overshadow Green in the Yangon region. Look at the bombing at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum… What happened to the Martyrs’ Mausoleum? It’s red!” he said.

Red was the NLD’s party colour, and the predominant colour on its emblem and flag, while green was the USDP’s party colour and is associated with the military in Myanmar. Mya Nyein’s statement was generally taken as portraying the NLD party colour as unlucky or portending violence, and as a possible threat to NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s security. 

After stepping down from the deputy speakership, he served as a member of the USDP’s central executive committee from 2015 to 2022. 

Mya Nyein (centre) is seen at a USDP rally in Yangon in 2015 (Supplied)

When the USDP party underwent a schism in 2015, known as the midnight coup d’état, Mya Nyein supported the faction led by former president Thein Sein—leader of Myanmar during the USDP’s quasi-civilian administration—according to a former military officer close to him. He was appointed executive advisor during a leadership reshuffle at a USDP party conference in October 2022. 

Mya Nyein has a wife, a son, two daughters, and grandchildren. He reportedly owns several parcels of real estate in Yangon, and it is unclear how much time he spends at his Naypyitaw home. 

“I always saw him taking walks at the end of the street before. I’m not sure if he has moved since the coup. I don’t see him or his car anymore,” said a resident of Shwe Kyar Pin ward, who asked to remain anonymous due to security concerns. 

The day after the bombing, three people in civilian clothes, believed to be members of the military council’s security forces, were seen in the vicinity of Mya Nyein’s home.

The house is located just 500m from the NLD’s Naypyitaw office, which is not currently in operation. The military refused to accept the NLD’s victory in the 2020 general election, making widely discredited claims that the party had perpetrated electoral fraud as a pretext for seizing power in February 2021. 

After the 2021 coup d’état, construction work on the NLD office was halted. Members of the military and security forces sometimes occupied the premises and used them as a base for scouting the area, according to residents of Shwe Kyar Pin ward. 

Another recent bombing took place in Naypyitaw, at the Mandalay Paradise Restaurant on Ayeyarwady Road in Zabuthiri Township, on Wednesday evening. The bomb was reportedly planted in a garbage bin at the restaurant, but details of the incident remain unclear. 

Mandalay Paradise Restaurant is owned by Kyaw Myint Hlaing, former director-general of the irrigation department known as a crony businessman with close connections to former president Thein Sein and former military dictator Than Shwe.

Kyaw Myint Hlaing, former director-general of the agriculture and irrigation ministry and owner of the Mandalay Paradise Restaurant, which was bombed this week (Myanmar Now)

Kyaw Myint Hlaing’s wife Sandar Khin is the former deputy minister for culture under the USDP government. 

The home of military council-appointed administrator Tin Khaing, located in the same ward as Mya Nyein’s, was also bombed on the evening of February 4. 

The USDP handed out hundreds of bamboo spikes to their rank-and-file members on February 21 in a so-called “traditional self-defence ritual.”

According to the Sittaung Urban Guerrilla Force, members of the USDP have also received military training and firearms.

In the two years after the coup, the military council became notorious for cracking down violently in response to peaceful protests, and armed resistance rose throughout Myanmar. 

The Sittaung Urban Guerrilla Force originally formed in response to the shooting deaths of protestors by coup leaders. Resistance fighters have found only rare opportunities to carry out actions against the regime in Naypyitaw, where the military council is headquartered and maintains tight security, but remain hopeful that they can have an impact. 

“I want to say we and the people will have our turn again,” the Sittaung Urban Guerrilla Force officer said.

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