Concern Raised About Myanmar NGO Worker Shot at Roadblock

myanmar-ye-lin-naing-aid-worker-rakhine-jul29-2019.jpg Ye Naing Lin (C), a local employee of the international NGO Plan International, is taken into Sittwe General Hospital in Sittwe, western Myanmar's Rakhine state, July 29, 2019.

UPDATED at 5:30 P.M. ET on 2019-08-02

An international NGO on Wednesday expressed concern over a Myanmar aid worker who remains in critical condition after being shot by government soldiers in war-torn Rakhine state and later charged for possessing a grenade under the country’s Counter-Terrorism Law.

The Myanmar office of the global humanitarian and children’s rights organization Plan International issued the brief statement about the condition of Ye Lin Naing, but added that it did not yet know all the details of the shooting and that it was contacting authorities involved in the incident.

“Plan International is extremely concerned about the well-being of a staff member in Myanmar who was shot and injured in Mrauk-U in Rakhine state on Sunday, 28 July,” teh statement said.

Ye Lin Naing, 25, was shot at about 7 a.m. Sunday as he rode a motorbike through Mrauk-U town’s Kyauk Yitkay ward, where a government military regiment is stationed.

Myanmar forces have been fighting with the rebel Arakan Army (AA), which seeks greater autonomy in Rakhine state, in Mrauk-U and other townships in northern Rakhine.

Soldiers fired at Ye Lin Naing when he failed to immediately stop his motorcycle as ordered, even though a witness said in an earlier report that Ye Lin Naing was hit after he had slowed down and turned back toward the troops.

He sustained a gunshot wound on the left side of his chest and was taken to Sittwe General Hospital for urgent care on Monday, because the bullet had damaged his lung and heart blood vessels, according to his family.

Ye Lin Naing is still being treated at the hospital while he is in police custody after soldiers at the scene of the shooting said they found a grenade in his motorcycle toolbox.

“The injured staff member is receiving medical treatment at a local hospital and has not made any statement so far,” Plan International's statement said. “He remains in the custody of security forces.”

“At this moment, Plan International’s main priority is the safety and well-being of our staff,” it said. “We are in constant touch with his family, and we are providing full support to them.”

RFA was unable to reach police in Sittwe and Mrauk-U for comment.

Rakhine state lawmaker Tun Thar Sein from the Arakan National Party (ANP) questioned the military’s use of excessive force by shooting Ye Lin Naing, who was traveling in Mrauk-U outside a during non-curfew hours.

The Rakhine state government imposed a curfew in April in Mrauk-U and four other northern Rakhine townships in response to the escalating conflict between Myanmar Army troops and the AA.

    “The dusk-to-dawn curfew lasts from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., [and] when Ye Lin Naing was shot, it was only 8 p.m.,” he said. “He wasn’t violating the curfew order.”

    “They should have questioned him first,” he said. “I think shooting him to stop him was excessive.”

    Reported by Ye Taik for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


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