Singapore, Oct 6 (EFE).- Singapore-based oil company Puma announced it is to “fully exit” Myanmar, coming amid NGO concerns that its jet fuel could be used by the military junta.
“Following a board decision to fully exit Myanmar earlier this year, Puma Energy has signed an agreement to sell its stake in Puma Energy Asia Sun (PEAS) and minority share in National Energy Puma Aviation Services (NEPAS) to a locally owned private company,” it said in statement on Wednesday, without providing further information.
The decision by Puma, which began operations in Myanmar in 2015 and has been the country’s main supplier of aviation fuel, comes 20 months after the military seized power in a Feb. 1, 2021 coup.
After the coup, the company said it would suspend its operations, although it later resumed them, assuring it was only for civilian purposes.
Amnesty International on Thursday acknowledged Puma’s departure, with Business and Human Rights Researcher Montse Ferrer emphasizing in a statement that “it comes after a long campaign by civil society groups (…) who among others have placed vital scrutiny on aviation fuel supplies that may end up in the hands of Myanmar’s military.”
Human rights and civil organizations had previously suspected that some fuel supplied by Puma could have ended up in military planes and helicopters used to attack insurgents.
“Puma Energy must ensure a safe and responsible disengagement now that it is leaving the country, including by providing a transparent and clear roadmap of its plans and preventing the military from accessing its aviation fuel infrastructure,” Ferrer said.
“Any valuable assets Puma Energy leaves behind should not fall into the hands of the military or its crony businesses,” he said, adding that it “must also explore ways to remedy any harm it may have contributed to while operating in Myanmar.”
Puma is the last oil company to leave the country, following multinationals Chevron and Total.
The coup has plunged the country into a deep political, social and economic crisis, and opened a spiral of violence with new civilian militias that has exacerbated decades of guerrilla warfare.
At least 2,300 people have been killed since the coup by security forces, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. EFE