10 detainees from raid on health facility in Magway Region released

The military has released 10 of the 21 people it detained last week after raiding a community medical centre in Ma Gyi Kan village, northern Myaing Township, Magway Region. 

All of the released detainees were male, with few details available on the remaining captives, according to a local man who helped to establish the healthcare facility.

“The released men said they had been interrogated, but not for too long. We are still trying to find out more about the others,” the man said on Monday.

A woman and two doctors are known to be among those still in junta captivity, while others were local villagers or patients undergoing treatment at the clinic.

The military carried out a raid on Ma Gyi Kan using helicopters on April 18, targeting anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters it assumed were hiding in the village.

In addition to the capture of 21 people, a teenager was killed and an x-ray machine worth 50m kyat (nearly $24,000) was destroyed during the attack, which almost completely demolished the clinic’s main building.

The military council claimed in a statement released after the raid that ammunition, three cars, and five motorcycles were seized from the medical centre compound and that a grenade, a car, and 15 motorcycles were also confiscated in the nearby village of Kan Gyi. It also said that 10 men and 20 women suspected of having ties to the anti-junta PDF had been arrested.

The local man connected with the health facility’s administration said the military’s report was full of falsehoods, and that the weapons and ammunition had been found in a PDF base outside of the village, not at the medical centre compound.

The military council’s reports did not mention the death of the teenage boy.

Phyo Htet Maung, 15, was trying to escape when he ran into soldiers airlifted into the village by helicopter. He was beaten to death, according to local residents who found his body after the soldiers left. His leg was broken and he was missing most of his teeth, they added. 

“He was beaten brutally all over his body. We could only identify him because we had known him a long time. We only told his parents that he was shot during the airstrikes, to spare them the added grief,” said the man close to the healthcare facility.

Ma Gyi Kan’s community-run clinic, which  had a maternity ward and the capacity to treat 50 inpatients, had been in operation since November 2021, according to the man.

The clinic’s main building had been constructed in 2014 with donations from the Japanese government, which also funded several other medical facilities in Myaing Township as part of a rural development project.

The clinic included only a main building and a dormitory for staff members before the coup, but the community later added three more buildings. Only one of the new annexes had an aluminium roof and brick walls, while the other two had been built using only palm leaves, wood, and bamboo.

An orthopaedic surgeon, two obstetrics and gynaecology specialists, and two general practitioners, all of whom were participants in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), provided medical services at the centre. Striking CDM medical students were also volunteering there.

Altogether, the centre’s staff totalled around 30 health service providers treating patients on a daily basis. It had already helped at least 700 women give birth, according to the local man who had been associated with the centre since its founding.

“We never ran out of donors. We once even helped seven women give birth in one day,” he said.

He added that patients from other regions also came to Ma Gyi Kan’s medical centre for treatment and that hundreds of people, including more than a dozen pregnant women, had been detained temporarily during the raid.

Cross, the leader of Myaing PDF, stated that despite relentless gunfire on the clinic’s compound by the junta during the attack, few cartridges were found there after the military left.

“We didn’t see any bullet shells inside the clinic. It appears they got rid of them themselves,” he said. 

Dr. Chan Nyein (MHT News)

The military council released its own video footage on Monday showing a doctor named Chan Nyein and a final-year medical student giving testimony after having been captured during the raid.

In the military’s videos, the captured doctor and medical student said they had been compelled under duress to treat the injuries of PDF fighters from Myaing, Pauk, Yesagyo and Pale townships, and that they had been forced to recruit new healthcare service providers and threatened with death if they asked about going home.

However, Dr. Chan Nyein was visibly reading his pre-written “testimonial” from a piece of notepaper, which was reflected in his glasses in the video.

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