Myanmar military had detained 18 doctors for treating patients who were members of terrorist organisations, a reference to proscribed anti-junta groups, a state-run publication said on Wednesday.
The arrests were made during a search on a church in Loikaw, eastern Kayah state, on Monday, when they found 48 patients undergoing treatment, seven of whom had COVID-19.
‘It was learned that unofficial medical treatment was being provided to the injured persons and patients from the terrorist organisations’, said the Global New Light of Myanmar, the junta’s mouthpiece.
The organisations were not named in the study. It stated that the 18 medics detained will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
Since the army ousted an elected government in a February 1 coup, Myanmar’s healthcare system has been on the verge of collapsing. At a protest against the junta’s control, many medical staff have joined a civil disobedience movement and refused to work in military-run hospitals.
According to human rights organisations, security forces have targeted several healthcare institutions and staff. Doctors have been urged to return to work by the military.
As per reports, some of the four physicians, four nurses, and ten nursing aides arrested at the church had previously been charged with inciting for refusing to work.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been documenting post-coup events in Myanmar, about 1,300 people have been killed and over 10,000 have been imprisoned since the coup.
The military has disputed the AAPP’s statistics, which the UN has mentioned, and has accused it of prejudice. Last Monday, a junta official claimed that 200 troops had died in the battle.