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September 26, 2017

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Myanmar invites anti-colonialist home from exile

YANGON -- One of Myanmar's legendary "Thirty Comrades" who spearheaded the struggle against British colonialism has been invited back from exile by President Thein Sein.

The daughter of 92-year-old Kyaw Zaw told U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia in an interview this weekend that the invitation was conveyed by President's Office Minister Aung Min. She spoke from Kunming in southern China, where she lives with her father. The only other surviving member of the group, Bo Ye Htut, lives in Myanmar.

The Thirty Comrades were led by independence hero Gen. Aung San, father of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During World War II, they went to Japan for training to fight against the British colonizers of what was then known as Burma. Aung San turned against the Japanese as the war was ending and negotiated independence from Britain, but was assassinated before it took place.

Kyaw Zaw joined the underground Communist Party of Burma in 1976 and fled to China in 1989.

Hla Kyaw Zaw said her father wished to return home but might not be able to make the journey soon because of ill health. She said he also would have to consult with the Communist Party, which maintained a large guerrilla army through the 1970s, but now has no role in the country's politics.

President Thein Sein has launched a variety of economic and political reforms since taking office last year after almost five decades of military rule.

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