Troops loyal to Myanmar’s junta arrested seven workers of Caritas, the social action arm of the Diocese of Loikaw in Myanmar’s Kayah state, on Monday, October 18.
The incident happened about seven kilometers from the diocesan center where the soldiers stopped the organization’s two four-wheel drive vehicles and arrested the seven workers.
Father Francis Soe Naing, chancellor of the Diocese of Loikaw, said the Caritas team was bringing humanitarian aid to communities affected by the ongoing conflict in the area.
“Along the way, they were arrested by the Burmese junta and have not been freed yet,” the priest told the Italian news agency SIR.
Last week, junta troops torched an entire village—including a Baptist church and a dozen other buildings—in Chin state.
Days earlier, on October 13, soldiers also attacked the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Phruso town, also in the Diocese of Loikaw.
Meanwhile, Thailand and the United States are reportedly considering jointly providing humanitarian aid to people in Myanmar via the Thai-Myanmar border.
During a two-day visit to Bangkok earlier this week, US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet and an inter-agency delegation from Washington met with the Thai foreign minister and discussed the post-coup crisis in Myanmar
“The two sides have discussed the situation in Myanmar, the handling of the matter by Thailand and [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and the feasibility of Thai-US cooperation to provide people in Myanmar with humanitarian assistance – possibly handled via the Thai-Myanmar border,” said Thai foreign ministry spokesman Tanee Sankrat.
Thousands of displaced people in Myanmar reportedly lack food, drinking water, shelter and healthcare in an economy that has all but collapsed since the coup, economists, rights groups and other agencies say.
The share of Myanmar’s population living in poverty is likely to more than double by early 2022, compared with 2019 levels, according to the World Bank. – with a report from Radio Free Asia