A Catholic priest who was earlier reported to have been detained by Myanmar’s military in the Diocese of Banmaw was released on Monday, May 17.
Father Columban Lar Di was arrested by soldiers on May 13 while traveling from Banmaw to Myitkyina. His name reportedly appeared on a mobile phone that contained a list of supporters of the so-called Civil Disobedience Movement.
The priest used to be the director of the youth group in the Diocese of Banmaw. He is currently parish priest of Prang Hku Dung parish in the city.
Sources told LiCAS.news that the priest was released following negotiations between the military and local church leaders.
The release of the priest came as an activist group reported that more than 800 people have been killed by Myanmar’s security forces since a wave of protests broke out across the country in February.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army ousted Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and detained her and officials of her National League for Democracy party.
The military has responded to protests by pro-democracy supporters in cities and towns with lethal force, while there has been an upsurge in fighting between the army and ethnic rebels in border areas and newly formed militia forces.
As of Monday, 802 people had been killed in the junta’s crackdown on its opponents, according to the activist group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
It detailed six additional fatalities including in towns in Chin state and in districts of the main cities of Mandalay and Yangon.
The junta has previously disputed the number of civilians that have died and said dozens of members of the security forces had also been killed during the protests.
The activist group said 4,120 people were currently being detained, including 20 who had been sentenced to death.
A UN General Assembly vote on Tuesday, May 18, on a draft resolution calling “for an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of all weapons and munitions” to Myanmar has been postponed.
It was not immediately known when a vote would be rescheduled. Some diplomats said it had been delayed in a bid to win more support.
The draft resolution calls on the Myanmar military to end a state of emergency, stop all violence against peaceful protesters and respect the will of the people as expressed in the results of November’s election. – with a report from Reuters