A BBC reporter based in Myanmar was taken by men in plain clothes while reporting in the country’s capital, the outlet announced early Friday.
Aung Thura’s detention comes amid violent clashes between the Burmese military and protesters that have led to over 200 dead, according to BBC News. The military staged a coup in early February, detaining the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other top government officials.
“We are extremely concerned about our BBC News Burmese Reporter, Aung Thura, who was taken away by unidentified men in the Burmese capital, Nay Pyi Taw, at approximately midday local time,” BBC News said in a statement. “The BBC takes the safety of all of its staff in Myanmar very seriously and we are doing everything we can to find Aung Thura.”
Local reporter Than Htike Aung was also detained, BBC reported. Mizzima, the company he worked for, had its operating license revoked by the Burmese military earlier in March. (RELATED: Myanmar’s Military Blocks Facebook Access Following Coup)
Both men were detained after men arrived in an unmarked van and demanded to see them, BBC said, adding that it has been unable to contact Aung Thura since.
BBC statement on missing BBC Burmese journalist, Aung Thura pic.twitter.com/jmgiCc20so
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) March 19, 2021
Demonstrators have continued to protest against the Burmese military, even as the clashes have turned violent. The military killed 38 protesters on March 3 alone, one of the deadliest days since the Feb. 1 coup, and has arrested 40 journalists since demonstrations began.
“We call on the authorities to help locate him and confirm that he is safe,” BBC said. “Aung Thura is an accredited BBC journalist with many years of reporting experience covering events in Nay Pyi Taw.”
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