In the face of a health emergency, Myanmar’s military soldiers forcibly closed a church-run health center on November 22. The military personnel also robbed medical equipment from the clinic, driving the most vulnerable seeking medical assistance at a serious health risk.
A Jesuit priest posted on his Facebook timeline about military soldiers disrupting health services in a church-run clinic in the diocese of Loikaw. Myanmar has been under a military coup since February 1, 2021.
“While we’re so worried about those arrested unjustly and all patients who have been moved forcibly despite their serious health conditions, we’re also very much disheartened by the loss of precious medical equipment which they have robbed from us,” wrote Father Wilbert Mireh, a Jesuit priest on his Facebook timeline.
Father Mireh expressed his sentiment both in Burmese and English on the social media site, Facebook.
“These invaluable sets of equipment are the generosity and love of the people and this loss will negatively affect many who require medical help, especially in this country with the collapse of its healthcare system,” the Jesuit priest added.
Father Mireh explained how the event happened.
“This day (November 22) of infamy started like that – around the time when people have come together for the good work of charity, two hundred thugs (military forces) with all sorts of deadly weapons intruded Loikaw Catholic Church compound as if they’re waging war and spent the whole day searching every room and arrested whoever they wanted, robbed whatever they wanted and sent the serious patients wherever the thugs (military forces) wanted.”
Father Dareh, a Dominican priest, serving in the diocese of Loikaw, said that “Karuna clinic is run by the Loikaw Catholic Church, but is open for all people regardless of religions and races.”
“It is a place where people of all walks of life can get affordable treatment and free treatment,” Father Dareh told Radio Veritas Asia.
Father Wilbert alleged that the military wants to stop the all-inclusive church-run charitable healthcare on which the people from Kayah State and nearby areas depend due to economic affordability and credibility of health services.
“That was a deliberate and violent attack against those free healthcare providers, the patients from all religious and social backgrounds and the minority Catholics in the country,” Father Wilbert said.
Knowing the history of the Church in Myanmar, the Jesuit priest stated that “besides, the recent attacks against the Catholic churches in and around Kayah State, such outrageous incident happened in the past as well.”
“Their (military) cruelties and evil deeds are beyond comprehension,” the priest says.
Father Mireh resolves: “We shall never surrender out of fear. But following our faith, we shall continue to live for the good, the truth and justice.”
RVA News regrets the inconsistencies in reporting the event on November 22.