Myanmar Junta Forces Raid Charity Clinic, Detain Founding Monk

By The Irrawaddy 26 January 2023

Regime troops have raided the Shwe Taung Myittar philanthropic clinic in Monywa Township, Sagaing Region and arrested the founding Buddhist monk for employing striking medics.

Around 15 soldiers arriving in two vehicles on Sunday raided the clinic at the Pyi Lone Chan Thar Buddhist monastery looking to arrest doctors and a nurse participating in the anti-regime Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), according to Monywa residents.

The locals said the charity clinic treat treats around 200 patients a day, most of them pregnant women.

Some patients and the CDM medics managed to escape the raid, which followed two raids in December.

First, the abbot of the Pyi Lone Chan Thar monastery was arrested. The soldiers came back at the afternoon in two vehicles to destroy and seize clinic materials.

“They stopped pedestrians and forced them to carry beds from the clinic to [the junta’s] vehicles,” a resident told The Irrawaddy.

Four days since his arrest, the fate of the monk remains unknown.

Not only Monywa residents, but also patients from nearby villages relied on the Shwe Taung Myittar philanthropic clinic.

“There are a lot of pregnant women who were planning to deliver their children at the Shwe Taung Myittar clinic. I feel so sorry for them,” a pregnant woman from Monywa said.

The abbot formed the clinic many years ago for patients who can’t afford health services, according to a charity worker in Monywa.

“With such a clinic suddenly being raided and closed, the patients who rely on it face many hardships,” he told The Irrawaddy.

Regime troops raided the Shwe Taw Win Private Hospital in Monywa on the same day ‌and arrested the head of the hospital and two health workers.

The two raids occurred just days after pro-junta agitators urged via the social media app Telegram that CDM medics at the clinic and private hospital be arrested.

The CDM movement has dealt a major blow to the regime’s efforts to exert control over the country since the coup last year, with the state healthcare sector hobbled by a large number of striking employees.

Junta officials have frequently carried out surprise checks on private hospitals in cities to see if they are employing striking government health workers.

The regime forced five private hospitals in Mandalay to close in late December, claiming they employed CDM staff.