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Catholic priest detained by Myanmar military freed

Father Richard Nay Zaw Aung, a priest of Pathein Diocese, Myanmar (Photo supplied)

A Catholic priest, who was arrested by the military in Myanmar has been released on April 19.  

Father Richard Nay Zaw Aung was arrested in Shar Khe on April 10, was sent to Kyone Pyaw Police Checkpoint, and was released around 4 in the afternoon. 

On April 10, the security personnel arrested two priests, the parish priest Father Firmin aka Man Saybat and the assistant priest, Father Richard, from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Shar Khel village of Pathein Diocese, Kyone Pyaw Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region in Myanmar. 

Besides, 13 Catholics, including one Brother, one catechist, and three youths were also arrested. 

Except for the assistant priest Father Richard, all of them were released on the same night.

One of the reasons for Father Richard’s arrest was due to the absence of submission of the overnight guests' list to the concerned authority, reports Myanmar Now.

According to local people, Father Richard had recently returned from France. On April 10, the military raided the church reportedly with 30 armed men (soldiers).

He was arrested at Kyone Pyaw Myoma Police Station and was detained for further investigation. 

St Joseph's Church at Shar Khe village in Ayeyarwaddy Region of Mynmar (Photo supplied)

St. Joseph's Church at Shar Khe village is known to be the second-largest Catholic Church in Ayeyarwaddy Region.

Shar Khe village which is about five miles away from Kyone Pyaw city has over 200 houses and three townships such as Hinthada, Danu Phyu, and Kyone Pyaw are located in Sone Yat.

Military Council also visited Shwe Hlone Taw Catholic Church in Aung Myay Thar San Township, Mandalay on April 14. The exact cause is not known, but no arrest was made in the process.

After the military coup took place on February 1, 2021, the military council used to raid the rebels and religious buildings in villages. Churches in Chin State and Kayah State have been shot and attacked by heavy weapons.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) requested last January that the military coup council would give respect to religious buildings and their leaders. 
There are at least 1,25,000 people have been arrested and detained in prison, according to a report by Political Prisoners Care Association, a non-profit human rights organization.


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