Security forces in Myanmar have killed an international aid worker in the country’s western Rakhine State, a troubled region where state-sponsored violence has targeted minority Muslims and the military has been cracking down on rebellious Buddhists.
Twenty five-year-old Ye Lin Naing, a member of the Plan International aid group, was driving a motorbike in Mrauk U Township in Rakhine on Sunday when a trooper opened fire at him “as a warning shot” to stop, said a statement from the office of the Myanmarese military’s commander-in-chief on Tuesday.
The military claimed that the shot, however, hit him, wounding him critically.
The aid worker later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
Ye is the first international aid worker killed in the violence in Rakhine.
The statement also alleged that Ye was carrying a grenade and charged him under a counter-terrorism law.
Plan International is a prominent development and humanitarian agency that works in 71 countries across the world. In Myanmar, it provides aid to displaced households and children affected by the conflict in Rakhine.
Thousands of Rohingyas were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017. Some 800,000 others survived only by fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.
Many NGOs are active in Rakhine to help with those Rohingya Muslims who remain in the country.
Separately, government troops have been clashing with the Arakan Army (AA), a Buddhist rebel group seeking greater autonomy for Rakhine.
The fierce fighting between the two sides prompted a weeks-long internet shutdown that rights groups say is being used as a cover for abuses, including extrajudicial killings, and torture.