WHO worker killed in Myanmar collecting samples

WHO worker killed in Myanmar collecting samples
The body of Pyae Sone Win Maung was taken by ambulance to Sittwe hospital. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: A World Health Organization (WHO) driver has been killed in a conflicted region of Myanmar while out collecting Covid-19 monitoring samples.

Pyae Sone Win Maung was driving a well-marked United Nations vehicle when his car met gunfire in Rakhine State.

Fighting between the military and the armed ethnic Arakan Army group escalated in recent weeks and the UN says, dozens of civilians have been killed.

The incident took place on Monday and the two sides have blamed each other for the driver’s death.

Both the Arakan Army and the military in Myanmar (also called Burma) deny being involved.

Myanmar’s military spokesman Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said his forces had no reason to attack the UN vehicle.

He told Reuters news agency, “They are working for us, for our country. We have the responsibility for that.”

The country’s UN office said it was ”deeply shocked” the 28-year-old driver’s death, near a military checkpoint in Minbya township.

The marked UN vehicle was traveling from Sittwe to Yangon bringing Covid-19 surveillance samples “in support of the Ministry of Health and Sports”, according to a Facebook post.

The UN did not say who carried out the attack, which also left a government employee injured.

Htay Win Maung, the driver’s father, said his heart was “broken”.

He said: “I am trying to calm myself thinking he died in serving his duty at the frontline. He went there in the midst of fighting when many people didn’t dare to go.”

Countries including the United States and the United Kingdom have called for an end to fighting amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Myanmar has reported more than 80 coronavirus cases, along with four deaths.

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