Myanmar military attack Catholic clinic, abduct five nuns in Loikaw

Soldiers stormed the health facility in Karuna, Diocese of Loikaw, stole medical supplies, and arrested 18 doctors and medical staff. Police seized five Sisters of Mary Child along with a parish priest and health volunteer in the same diocese. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

Loikaw (AsiaNews) – Myanmar soldiers yesterday shut down a Church-run health clinic in Loikaw, a predominantly Christian township in Kayah state, this according to Fr Wilbert Mireh, a Jesuit priest.

Soldiers stormed the Karuna clinic, stole medical supplies and arrested 18 doctors and medical staff. Fr Mireh reported the incident on Facebook, describing yet another attack by the military against the most vulnerable.

“While we’re so worried about those arrested unjustly and all [the] 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,” reads Fr Mireh’s Facebook timeline.

“These invaluable sets of equipment are the [product of 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 added.

Everything began around 10 am when about 200 soldiers broke into the health facility with deadly weapons, spending “the whole day searching every room”. They “arrested whoever they wanted, robbed whatever they wanted and sent the serious patients wherever the thugs (military forces) wanted.”

For Fr Mireh, the military is trying to stop the Church from providing healthcare to the people of Kayah State. This “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,” he explained.

The Karuna clinic, while run by the Church, welcomes patients of all faiths and social classes.

This is not the first time that such an attack has occurred. In Kayah State, “such outrageous incidents happened in the past as well,” the priest noted.  But “We shall never surrender out of fear. But following our faith, we shall continue to live for the good, the truth and justice.”

AsiaNews has also learnt from local sources that five Sisters of Mary Child were recently abducted in Loikaw by the police together with a parish priest and a healthcare volunteer. Their whereabouts are still unknown.