Friend: 2 Australian agriculture consultants held in Myanmar

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An Australian couple working as agriculture growth consultants in Myanmar are being detained at their dwelling after the lady was not allowed to depart the nation, a good friend mentioned on Monday.

Christa Avery was refused permission to board a flight to Australia on Friday and he or she and her husband Matt O’Kane have been detained at their Yangon dwelling since then, mentioned their Sydney-based good friend Tim Harcourt, a University of New South Wales economist.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade mentioned in an announcement it was “providing consular assistance to two Australians in Myanmar,” however would supply no additional particulars.

The couple had been mates with Australian Economic Policy Adviser Sean Turnell, who has been in detention since early February, Harcourt mentioned.

Turnell was detained inside weeks of arriving in Yangon from Australia to take up a job as adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s authorities, which was ousted in a army coup Feb. 1.

Australia has repeatedly demanded Turnell’s launch. Two weeks in the past, the Australian authorities introduced it had suspended its protection cooperation with Myanmar and was redirecting humanitarian help due to the army takeover and Turnell’s ongoing detention.

Harcourt didn’t suppose the couple had been detained due to their friendship with Turnell.

“They both work in areas where there’s a lot of foreign aid money coming into Myanmar,” Harcourt mentioned, referring to Turnell and the couple.

“Maybe the junta’s trying to trace where the foreign money is coming in because most foreign aid has now dried up because they (donors) don’t want to support the military,” Harcourt added.

Avery, who was born in Canada and is a twin citizen, left Sydney a decade in the past to work in Myanmar, Harcourt mentioned.

The Australian neighborhood in Myanmar was small and “pretty friendly with each other,” so it was common that the couple can be mates with Turnell.

(*2*) mentioned Harcourt, who can be Turnell’s good friend.

“I’m just hoping they can stay in home detention and wait it out. It might blow over,” he added.

Avery didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail from The Associated Press on Monday.

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