UN staff member arrested (UPDATE)

Oct 4, 2007 (DVB), A United Nations Development Programme staff member arrested by the Burmese authorities has now been released.

She was arrested early yesterday morning in Rangoon by Burmese security forces who were targeting residences in the Shwedagon pagoda area.

Mynt Ngwe Mon, who is a programme assistant with UNDP, was arrested along with her husband, Than Tun, and her brother-in-law, Aung Kyaw Sint, at around 4am yesterday. Mynt Ngwe Mon's driver, Win Tin, was arrested at the same residence around two hours later.

The arrests were made during a sweep of the area by security forces and a number of other residents were also detained as part of the ongoing crackdown by the Burmese government on recent mass demonstrations in the country.

No information on those detained has been released by the authorities, according to Sanaka Samarasinha, the deputy representative of UNDP in Rangoon.

"We don't have any idea where they are at the moment or why they were taken," he said.

"We have made requests locally to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs that [those detained] be located as soon as possible and that we be informed of their whereabouts," he continued.

The issue has also been raised at the headquarters of the UN in New York. A UN spokesperson told reporters that UNDP would send a letter to the Burmese mission to the UN asking the Burmese government to intercede for the release of Mynt Ngwe Mon.

Mr Samarasinha said that other UN staff detained earlier in the week had been released and he was hopeful that the Burmese authorities would cooperate again.

Reporting by Nay Htoo

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