Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Legal scholar, taxi driver mourned after assassination

On the evening of January 29, U Ko Ni was assassinated from point-blank range outside Yangon International Airport. A legal scholar a National League for Democracy adviser, U Ko Ni was widely respected as a peacemaker and proponent of inter-religious harmony as well a leading constitutional authority in Myanmar.

U Ko Ni was returning from a workshop in Indonesia with senior NLD leadership when he was shot twice at close range and killed. A taxi driver who chased the attacker, U Nay Win, was also injured, and died later that night.

Thousands of bereaved citizens of all faiths gathered the next day when, as prescribed by Muslim custom, U Ko Ni was buried, at Yay Way Cemetary in Yangon. His assassination – the first major political death of the NLD-led administration – shook Yangon's Muslim and legal communities and claimed the only major Muslim public figure aligned with Myanmar's civilian government.

  • Thousands flocked to Yangon's Yay Way Cemetery to mourn prominent lawyer and NLD legal adviser U Ko Ni, who was assassinated on January 29. He was buried the next day. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Thousands flocked to Yangon's Yay Way Cemetery to mourn prominent lawyer and NLD legal adviser U Ko Ni, who was assassinated on January 29. He was buried the next day. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • U Ko Ni was killed by a gunman outside Yangon International Airport by a gunman on January 29. A taxi driver, 42-year-old U Nay Win, was also shot and critically injured. Photo: EPA
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    U Ko Ni was killed by a gunman outside Yangon International Airport by a gunman on January 29. A taxi driver, 42-year-old U Nay Win, was also shot and critically injured. Photo: EPA
  • An ambulance carrying the body of U Ko Ni leaves Yangon International Airport on the evening of January 29. An NLD statement released that night called the killing as assassination. Photo: EPA
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    An ambulance carrying the body of U Ko Ni leaves Yangon International Airport on the evening of January 29. An NLD statement released that night called the killing as assassination. Photo: EPA
  • Police quickly assembled at the forensics department of North Okkalapa hospital where U Ko Ni's body was examined on the evening of January 29. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Police quickly assembled at the forensics department of North Okkalapa hospital where U Ko Ni's body was examined on the evening of January 29. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • National League for Democracy members wait at North Okkalapa hospital for an update on U Ko Ni on January 29. Photo: Thiri Lu
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    National League for Democracy members wait at North Okkalapa hospital for an update on U Ko Ni on January 29. Photo: Thiri Lu
  • Officers prevented journalists from gaining entry to the ward. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Officers prevented journalists from gaining entry to the ward. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein (centre) arrives at North Okkalapa hospital on January 29. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein (centre) arrives at North Okkalapa hospital on January 29. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Ma Su Thet Khine (centre), holds her 45-day-old baby while waiting for updates on her husband, taxi driver U Nay Win, who was also shot. He died of his injuries that night. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Ma Su Thet Khine (centre), holds her 45-day-old baby while waiting for updates on her husband, taxi driver U Nay Win, who was also shot. He died of his injuries that night. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • U Ko Ni and U Nay Win were both declared dead at North Okkalapa hospital that night. Photo: Thiri Lu
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    U Ko Ni and U Nay Win were both declared dead at North Okkalapa hospital that night. Photo: Thiri Lu
  • Family and community members set up a vigil at U Ko Ni's family at their home in downtown Yangon the night of January 29 with areas for mourners to rest and information about the funeral. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    Family and community members set up a vigil at U Ko Ni's family at their home in downtown Yangon the night of January 29 with areas for mourners to rest and information about the funeral. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • NLD party patron U Tin Oo (left) visited U Ko Ni's grieving family and spoke with his widow, Tin Tin Aye (right) and mother the morning of January 30, before the funeral. Photo: AFP
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    NLD party patron U Tin Oo (left) visited U Ko Ni's grieving family and spoke with his widow, Tin Tin Aye (right) and mother the morning of January 30, before the funeral. Photo: AFP
  • A black ribbon of mourning pinned to an NLD party uniform. Photo: Aung Khant
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    A black ribbon of mourning pinned to an NLD party uniform. Photo: Aung Khant
  • Dr Aung Tun Thet, NLD economic adviser, arrives at U Ko Ni's family home in downtown Yangon ahead of the funeral. Photo: Aung Khant
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    Dr Aung Tun Thet, NLD economic adviser, arrives at U Ko Ni's family home in downtown Yangon ahead of the funeral. Photo: Aung Khant
  • Yangon Region military officials arrive at U Ko Ni's house in downtown Yangon ahead of the funeral procession to Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Aung Khant
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    Yangon Region military officials arrive at U Ko Ni's house in downtown Yangon ahead of the funeral procession to Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Aung Khant
  • A monk proceeds to the cemetery holds a portrait of U Ko. Photo: Aung Khant
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    A monk proceeds to the cemetery holds a portrait of U Ko. Photo: Aung Khant
  • Mourners began assembling at 10am at Yay Way Cemetery on Yangon's outskirts for the funeral. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    Mourners began assembling at 10am at Yay Way Cemetery on Yangon's outskirts for the funeral. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • Some signed sheets with messages for the deceased and their families at Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    Some signed sheets with messages for the deceased and their families at Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • Bereaved mourners wait to pay their last respects to U Ko Ni. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    Bereaved mourners wait to pay their last respects to U Ko Ni. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • U Ko Ni's mother, widow and daughter (centre) while he lies in wait at the cemetery. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    U Ko Ni's mother, widow and daughter (centre) while he lies in wait at the cemetery. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • A mourner grieves near U Ko Ni's body where it was dispalyed before the burial. Photo: Zarni Phyo
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    A mourner grieves near U Ko Ni's body where it was dispalyed before the burial. Photo: Zarni Phyo
  • NLD party patron U Tin Oo makes his way through the crowds at Yay Way Cemetery, where thousands turned out to pay their final respects to U Ko Ni. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    NLD party patron U Tin Oo makes his way through the crowds at Yay Way Cemetery, where thousands turned out to pay their final respects to U Ko Ni. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Attendees carried U Ko Ni's coffin from the mortuary over the crowds at Yay Way Cemetery in Yangon. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Attendees carried U Ko Ni's coffin from the mortuary over the crowds at Yay Way Cemetery in Yangon. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Thousands of mourners bow their heads in prayer. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Thousands of mourners bow their heads in prayer. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Photo: Aung Khant
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    Photo: Aung Khant
  • Thousands help pass the coffin over the heads of the crowd to U Ko Ni's final resting place on January 30. Photo: Kaung Htet
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    Thousands help pass the coffin over the heads of the crowd to U Ko Ni's final resting place on January 30. Photo: Kaung Htet
  • Members of the Myanmar Lawyers Association attended the funeral. U Ko Ni was a leading legal figure and widely-respected authority on Myanmar's constitution. Photo: Aung Khant
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    Members of the Myanmar Lawyers Association attended the funeral. U Ko Ni was a leading legal figure and widely-respected authority on Myanmar's constitution. Photo: Aung Khant
  • Taxi drivers who worked along side U Nay Win came out to honour their fallen comrade, who was also shot by the gunman and died of his injuries on January 29. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
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    Taxi drivers who worked along side U Nay Win came out to honour their fallen comrade, who was also shot by the gunman and died of his injuries on January 29. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
  • National League for Democracy members paid tribute to U Nay Win, who received a hero's burial on January 31 at Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
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    National League for Democracy members paid tribute to U Nay Win, who received a hero's burial on January 31 at Yay Way Cemetery. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
  • U Nay Win's wife (right) cries over the body of her husband. He left behind three children, including a newborn son. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
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    U Nay Win's wife (right) cries over the body of her husband. He left behind three children, including a newborn son. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
  • Thousands turned out for the taxi driver's funeral, whose heroic efforts to stop the gunman were hailed by senior NLD officials at his funeral. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet
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    Thousands turned out for the taxi driver's funeral, whose heroic efforts to stop the gunman were hailed by senior NLD officials at his funeral. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

Photos by: Kaung Htet, Aung Khant, Nyan Zay Htet, Thiri Lu and Zarni Phyo for The Myanmar Times, with AFP and EPA

For more information, read our wrap-up here, and for updates on the investigation follow along with out live feed.