Request for Urgent Assistance for Kidnapped Staff
H.E U Thar Aye,Chief Minister of Sagaing Division
We would like to inform you of an unfortunate and violent incident that has taken place - the kidnapping of our colleagues by activists - and in turn we would like to seek your wise council and urgent assistance.
At 11am of May 18 2014, 3 of our contractors working for Norbenco, Mr. Lu Yuanhao and Mr. Miao Jie, both Chinese nationals and 23 years of age, and, Mr Khin Aung Moe, a 21 year old Myanmar National, were taken against their will by activists purporting to belong to the “Student Network of Mandalay” and two monks from old Sede village.
The Norbenco team of 3 were going about their work of surveying the land in the Southern area of our mining project, to the northeast of Sede Old Village, when they were jumped upon by the activists and taken against their will.
Wanbao learned from local government officials who went to negotiate with the activist that they belong to the “Student Network of Mandalay”.
Our colleagues have been threatened with death if the police were to harm any of the villagers. The activists have demanded the halting of the Letpadaung project as the condition for the release of our colleagues.
Wanbao vehemently condemns this unprovoked attack on our colleagues.
As you well know, Your Excellency, Myanmar Wanbao cares greatly for the people of Myanmar and we very much hope that this issue can be resolved peacefully as soon possible so that our colleagues can return to their families. We would very much welcome your assistance in releasing our colleagues. We would greatly appreciate it if the Myanmar government tool all necessary measures to rescue the victims.
We however would urge you that no action should be taken that would place the lives of our young colleagues in danger. Their wellbeing and safety have to be our number one and foremost priority- we owe this to their families and to the great relationship which exists between the two nations and peoples.
We would like to reiterate to Your Excellency that once our colleagues are freed, we will be happy to continue dialogue with the activists and Sede villagers to find a resolution to any grievance they might have. We would also like to direct your attention to the fact that we have been in negotiation with them from the last 5 months solidly. We have consulted them, sat with them, ate with them and have reached out to them repeatedly. This is why we are greatly horrified by this senseless act of violence.
We currently take succour from the calls of support we have received from the many villages and village elders who have contacted us and offered their help to release our colleagues. At the difficult time we are heartened by the community support we are getting. We understand that it is the only a small number of extremists and activists who are opposing our project with this type of unreasonable extreme behaviour and requests. They are not only seriously violating Myanmar law, but they are also going against the wish of the majority of the community who are working out with us various ways to benefit from the project.
In closing, we would very much ask you as a matter of urgency to assist us in any and every way possible to secure the freedom and wellbeing of our staff.
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