South Korea urges citizens to leave Myanmar amid growing violence

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April 1 (UPI) — South Korea is urging its citizens in Myanmar to come home after the United Nations warned of an “imminent bloodbath” after the Feb. 1 coup and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said Thursday they have strongly recommended repatriation for citizens who do not need to remain in the Southeast Asian nation, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

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The government suggestion comes after reports of increasing violence in Myanmar, where soldiers have shot dead peaceful protesters and civilians.

Myanmar’s foreign population may have not been significantly affected by the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement, but Myanmar nationals working at foreign firms have been wounded during clashes and riots.

On Wednesday, a soldier shot a local employee of South Korea’s Shinhan Bank branch in Myanmar. The victim was reportedly unconscious after the incident, South Korean news service EDaily reported Thursday.

South Korean expatriates in Myanmar are also increasingly concerned about troop presence in residential areas and have voiced concerns, the report said.

Seoul has not yet raised its travel advisory. The current warning advises against travel because of COVID-19. The advisory could be revised soon, however, according to EDaily.

South Korean nationals in Myanmar have already left the country, including 368 citizens who repatriated from Feb. 1 to March 31, the foreign ministry said.

“We are not yet in the evacuation stage,” Seoul said. “If needed we can pull out all citizens within 24 hours.”

The ongoing crackdown has raised concerns at the United Nations Security Council.

CBS News reported a U.N. special envoy warned that a “bloodbath is imminent” if the Security Council does not take action.

More than 520 people have been killed since the coup, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Christine Schraner Burgener said Wednesday.

“Already vulnerable groups requiring humanitarian assistance including ethnic minorities and the Rohingya people will suffer most, but inevitably, the whole country is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state,” she said, according to the report.