Junta troops have raided a hospital in Myanmar’s northwestern Chin state, arresting a doctor and four nurses, according to a local resident.
The local identified the five women as Dr. Ci Ci Lia and nurses Henny Zivalem, KhupSian Lun, San Hniang Sung and Van Niang Mawi, all ethnic Chin.
“They were arrested at midnight [Sunday] and informed they would be questioned,” said the resident who declined to be named for security reasons.
“Many soldiers came to the hospital at the time of the arrest.”
Agape Hospital is a privately-run medical facility, set up by the Presbyterian Church in Myanmar, which said it wanted to provide basic healthcare to a state with insufficient facilities.
The doctor and four nurses all joined Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement soon after the military seized power in a February 2021 coup, the local told RFA although they said the junta had not given a reason for the arrest.
The five are being held at the local police station in Hakha township and have been allowed to see their families.
Other residents told RFA troops arrested at least 15 people in Hakha township on Sunday evening when they checked lists of visitors staying overnight.
Sunday’s raid follows a similar one on April 2 when troops arrested two doctors and a staff member at Agape Hospital.
Locals say the three were freed in exchange for the release of junta officials who had been detained by the Chin People’s Defense Force in Hakha, suggesting the latest arrests may also be part of a planned prisoner exchange. RFA has not been able to confirm this independently.
The Chin People’s Defense Force confirmed Sunday’s arrest of the five medical workers but did not comment on any possible prisoner swap.
RFA called Chin state’s junta spokesman and social affairs minister Thant Zin Wednesday, seeking comment on the latest arrests, but the calls went unanswered.
Last week the junta revoked the business licenses of three private hospitals in Myanmar’s central Mandalay region.
Palace, City and Kant Kaw hospitals had already been told to stop accepting patients because they were using staff belonging to the civil disobedience movement.
According to Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government, the junta has attacked hospitals and clinics 188 times since the coup.
They damaged 59 ambulances and seized 49 more, the NUG’s Ministry of Health said, adding that 71 medical workers were killed and 836 arrested in the past 27 months.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.