Members of the NLD party lay a wreath in front of the late General Aung San statue to mark the 100th birthday of independence hero Aung San, in Yangon on February 13, 2015. A similar statue was damaged recently in the country's north where a bitter war is being fought against the Kachin. Photo: AFP / Soe Than Win

A statue of Myanmar’s independence hero Aung San erected this year in Mytikyina, the capital of Kachin State in the country’s north, was splashed with green paint and partly damaged, according to a report by The Irrawaddy, a local website.

The police are looking for those responsible, but so far no culprit has been arrested or identified.

The statue was erected in February by the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, led by Aung San’s daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, despite opposition from what The Irrawaddy described as “some members of the local ethnic Kachin population”.

The NLD won most parliamentary seats in Kachin State in the November 2015 election, but since then many Kachins, frustrated with the ongoing war in their state and the plight of more than 100,000 internally displaced people, have turned to local parties, sources in Myitkyina say.

Aung San is seen by the majority Bamars as a national hero, but that sentiment is not necessarily shared by the country’s many ethnic minorities.

Plans to erect another statue of Aung San in Kayah State in the country’s east also sparked protests from local community groups, who saw it as a move to “Burmanize” them.

In May last year, more than 90,000 people signed a petition protesting at the naming of a bridge linking Chaungzon and Mawlamyine townships in Mon State after Aung San.