Driver Carrying Covid-19 Test Samples Shot Dead

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RAKHINE/Myanmars: A driver, transporting COVID-19 test samples for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Rakhine state, died on Tuesday after his vehicle was attacked, state media reported.

Pyae Sone Win Maung was wounded during what the UN called a “security incident” on Monday evening in Rakhine’s Minbya township.

A passenger riding with him was also injured.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper blamed the attack on the rebel Arakan Army while the rebels blamed the Myanmar military.

The UN said in a statement that it “is seeking further information on the circumstances of the incident’’.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of our colleague,’’ it added.

The vehicle, which was marked with the UN logo, was carrying samples from suspected COVID-19 patients from Rakhine’s capital Sittwe to be tested in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

Fighting between the two groups has raged in the coastal region since early 2019, displacing tens of thousands of people.

Some 350,000 people in “dangerously overcrowded” displacement camps across Myanmar are at risk of a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Human Rights Watch warned last month.

They include 130,000 Rohingya who have been confined behind barbed wire in open air camps since being forced from their homes by extremist Buddhist mobs in 2012. (NAN)

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