Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Govt to Probe Fatal Shooting of WHO Driver Transporting COVID-19 Swabs

By Zarni Mann 29 April 2020

MANDALAY—The Myanmar government on Tuesday announced the formation of an investigation committee to probe the death of a World Health Organization (WHO) driver who was killed in a shooting in Rakhine State.

The WHO vehicle transporting swabs taken from 20 suspected COVID-19 patients from Rakhine State to Yangon was attacked on April 20. Driver U Pyae Sone Win Maung was fatally wounded and U Aung Myo Oo, a medical officer, was injured.

The incident occurred near the Yar Maung Bridge in Minbya Township of Rakhine State. U Pyae Sone Win Maung was shot in the left hip and right elbow and later died at Minbya Hospital.

The investigation committee, formed a week after the incident, is chaired by U Saw, the chairperson of the Lower House’s Citizens’ Fundamental Rights Committee. Its members include Daw Su Su Thar Tun, a retired adviser to the UN; Dr. Aung Thu Rein, the director of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; and Colonel Htein Lin, the joint secretary of the President’s Office.

The announcement, signed by President U Win Myint, stated that the committee will travel to Rakhine State’s Minbya Township to conduct a ground inspection, investigate the incident, collect evidence, find witnesses and review and investigate forensic records.

The President instructed the committee to conduct its investigation in accordance with international standards and to come up with recommendations for preventing further casualties among locals.

He also instructed the President’s Office and the government of Rakhine State to take responsibility for the security and safety of the committee members during the investigation.

The investigation committee is authorized to question and investigate police, military, and local administration officials; access documents related to the incident; and conduct ground inspections in accordance with the law.

The investigation committee’s mandate lasts until its final fact-finding report is submitted to the President. However, it was not clear when the deadline for the report would be, or when the committee will begin its investigation.

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