Two Australians Detained by Myanmar Junta

By AAP
March 21, 2021 Updated: March 21, 2021

Two Australian business consultants have been detained in Myanmar while trying to leave the country which is gripped by a military coup.

News agency AFP named the pair as business consultants Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery.

They are believed to be under house arrest after trying to leave the country on a relief flight on Friday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told AAP on Monday it was providing consular assistance, but could not comment further.

Consular assistance can include visits to detention centres to monitor welfare, liaison with local authorities regarding well-being, provision of lists of local lawyers, and assistance communicating with family or other contacts.

O’Kane and Avery operate a business consultancy AOK, which has been working in Southeast Asia for over two decades and on the ground in Myanmar for seven years.

It has worked on a range of projects in the clean energy, technology, agriculture, and retail sectors.

Avery is a graduate of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of NSW.

O’Kane is a US-trained chartered accountant and a graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

A third Australian Sean Turnell, an economic advisor to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was detained last month.

Protests continue in Myanmar in opposition to military rule as the death toll at the hands of security forces rises to more than 200.

The violence since the February 1 coup comes after a decade of tentative steps towards democracy in Myanmar.

Western countries have condemned the bloodshed and Australia has suspended military co-operation with Myanmar and redirected aid to non-government organisations in response.