LABUAN BAJO - Two staff members of the Singapore embassy in Myanmar who were in a humanitarian convoy that came under attack on Sunday are now safe.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said that the Asean convoy was in Shan State, in the eastern part of the country.
“Two staff of the Singapore Embassy in Yangon were part of the convoy. They are safe and have returned to Yangon,” he said.
Local Burmese news outlets reported on Monday that the aid convoy had come under fire on a road through the Hsi Hseng township.
The convoy was reportedly heading to a discussion with various groups on providing assistance to internally displaced persons, but had to turn back.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Singapore condemns this attack, said the MFA spokesman, noting it is critical to safeguard the safety of humanitarian and diplomatic personnel, so they can carry out their operations to aid those in need.
Myanmar has been plagued by violence since the country’s military overthrew the democratically elected government in a coup in February 2021.
In April 2021, Asean drew up a five-point consensus (5PC) peace plan with Myanmar, but there has been little progress in restoring peace. The violence has killed thousands.
“Singapore urges all parties to refrain from violence, in accordance with the Five-Point Consensus. Only constructive dialogue among all key stakeholders in Myanmar can facilitate a peaceful solution in the interests of the people of Myanmar,” said the MFA spokesman.
At a press conference in Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on Flores Island in eastern Indonesia, on Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo criticised the attack, and said it would not deter efforts to end the violence. Labuan Bajo is the venue of the 42nd Asean Summit, which starts on Wednesday.
Although he did not give details, Mr Widodo said that the AHA Centre (Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management), accompanied by the Asean monitoring team, was on its way to hand over aid supplies, when the “shoot-out” happened.
The AHA Centre is an inter-governmental organisation which facilitates cooperation and coordination in the bloc, as well as with other groups such as the UN, for emergency response.
Mr Widodo said the incident would not dampen the determination of Asean and Indonesia to keep calling for a stop to the violence and use of force.
“Because it is the people who will become the victims… this situation will not bring victory to anyone,” he said.