Burma

Myanmar Doctor Condemns Security Forces Attack on Yangon Hospital

By The Irrawaddy 1 April 2021

Yangon — Myanmar’s security forces used slingshots against Tet Lann Hospital in South Okkalapa Township, Yangon, on March 8. On Tuesday morning, they broke into the hospital.

While international law prohibits attacks on medical establishments, the security forces raided some private hospitals and fired shots inside the buildings in March. An eyewitness told The Irrawaddy about the raid on Tet Lann Hospital.

Could you tell me about the raid on Tuesday?

Around 1am on Tuesday, South Okkalapa residents banged pots and pans in response to the crackdown on protesters in South Dagon. The security forces arrived at the hospital at around 2am. They fired stun grenades and guns. We did not dare go to the ground floor. We locked the doors and hid in the lab on the top floor. Five hospital cleaners who live at the back of the hospital helped us and hid with us. When the security forces arrived, the residents [banging pots] had gone so they broke into the hospital. Some hospital staff ran to the roof.

How did they find you?

They went to the CCTV room. Apparently, they wanted to see what was happening outside. But from the CCTV they found the room where we were hiding. They asked a hospital employee at gunpoint to take them to us.

One of them came into the room. I think he was a police officer. He said: “Kill them all if they don’t come out.” He told them to shoot anyone who ran. They detained five cleaners. We were taken to the outpatient department on the ground floor at gunpoint. Shortly after, five cleaners were taken to the ground floor and shot at. But they were not shot.

Are they hospital employees? What happened next?

The security forces did not believe they were hospital cleaners. They hit them with batons, accusing them of burning [car tires]. One of them in a white vest and cargo pants kicked their faces with his army boots, saying he would kick their jaws out if they did not answer him. And he also slapped two security guards and kicked them for not reporting [the burning tires] to them.

Did they beat doctors?

They didn’t but they swore at us. They said why we were useless and ignorant. They kept abusing us, attempting to brainwash us. They said the country is in chaos because of us. They had to be awake through the night because we protested and people should be preparing for Thingyan [New Year] instead. When I responded, they swore at me.

Did they interrogate patients?

They opened all the patient rooms on the first and second floors and checked the patients and their relatives who are taking care of them. They even checked bathrooms. And they demanded the CCTV password, threatening to set the hospital on fire and kill us if we didn’t tell them.

Did they damage the hospital?

They didn’t. They just beat the cleaners, perhaps because they thought they were protesters.

How are their injuries?

Their faces are bruised and battered but not seriously.

What else did they say?

They beat five cleaning staff and two security guards for not informing them about the fires by phone. They beat them continuously. Junior policemen said they could not wait to kill us. They were wielding their guns as if they could not wait to shoot at us.

The security forces have raided other hospitals. What do you want to say about attacks on medical establishments?

Hospitals treat sick people and they should be respected. Patients were scared and if staff feel unsafe and dare not come to work, hospitals will have to close and this will further worsen the situation. This violence is inhumane.

 

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