11 July 2024

Tin Oo, a Myanmar general turned democracy activist and founding member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, died on Saturday aged 97, an aide and local media said. 

Tin Oo rose to serve as commander of the army under former strongman Ne Win, before being forced out for allegedly withholding information over a failed coup plot.

He co-founded the pro-democracy NLD in the aftermath of mass protests against a former junta in 1988, and went on to become one of Suu Kyi’s closest confidantes. 

He died Saturday morning at a hospital in Yangon where he had been undergoing treatment for health issues, one of his personal security officers told AFP on condition of anonymity. 

Local media also quoted his son as saying he had died Saturday morning, but did not give a cause of death. 

Tin Oo was detained by the military for more than a decade in the crackdown that followed the 1988 protests.

He was arrested again along with Suu Kyi in 2003 after a pro-junta mob attacked their motorcade, killing dozens of people.

In 2017, the NLD stalwart suffered a stroke and in recent years receded from the political arena due to old age and poor health. 

The NLD has been targeted in the junta’s bloody crackdown on dissent following its 2021 coup, with one former lawmaker executed in Myanmar’s first use of capital punishment in decades.

The junta dissolved the party in 2023 for failing to re-register under a tough new military-drafted electoral law, removing it from polls it has indicated it may hold in 2025.

Agence France-Presse//This file photo taken on December 5, 2021 shows National League for Democracy (NLD) patron Tin Oo (R) meeting Myanmar’s armed forces chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at Tin Oo’s home in Yangon.//AFP