Myanmar Frees Top Opposition Leaders

Myanmar's military government released four top opposition party members from house arrest Sunday, but pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (search) and four others continue to remain in detention.

Nyunt Wei, the treasurer of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (search) party, said he was told by a senior military intelligence official, Brig. Gen. Than Tun, that he and three of his colleagues are no longer under detention.

"To show respect, he personally came to the house to officially inform me that restrictions have been lifted," Nyunt Wei, 81, told The Associated Press.

He said that afterward police guards who had been camped outside his house for nearly six months dismantled their makeshift post and left.

Besides Nyunt Wei, those freed are Soe Myint, Hla Pe and another official named Than Tun, unrelated to the intelligence chief.

The four men are members of the NLD's nine-member central executive committee, which includes Suu Kyi. All were arrested and put under house arrest immediately after a clash between Suu Kyi's supporters and a pro-junta mob in northern Myanmar (search).

Suu Kyi and three other executive committee members -- chairman Aung Shwe, Secretary U Lwin and ordinary member Lun Tin -- are still under house arrest.

Another committee member, party vice chairman Tin Oo, is in Kalay prison in northern Myanmar. The government has given no indication when any of the five would be freed.

Nyunt Wei said he asked Than Tun, the intelligence official, about the fate of the five and was told: "'That has to be discussed later."'

The continued detention has attracted widespread international criticism of the junta, and sanctions by the United States and other Western countries.

Asked if he was happy to be freed, he said: "Nothing to be happy about it. It's part of the game and part of the job. But I do feel relieved for my neighbors that the guard houses have been removed.

The junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy uprising that saw the rise of Suu Kyi as a political leader. It called elections in 1990 but has refused to honor the results that showed an NLD victory.