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08/02/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – A bishop in Myanmar’s majority-Christian Chin state called for the release of a priest and a catechist who were arrested by the Chinland Defense Force (CDF). The CDF is one of several independent civil resistance groups fighting Myanmar’s military regime, re-established following the coup in early February.

According to UCA News, Father Noel Hrang Tin Thang and a catechist traveled from Surkhua town to Hakha on July 26 when the group arrested them. Both men are from the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Surkhua.

The two men have now been detained for a week. The bishop who called for their release, Bishop Lucius Hre Kung of Hakah, is concerned for their wellbeing. In a letter released August 1, he called on “the concerned leaders of the CDF to immediately release the pair.”

On August 1, the CDF responded that the two were in good health. They had been arrested because the CDF had accused them of providing information to the military junta, receiving medical support from the junta, and encouraging civilians to receive support from the junta.

Father Tin Tang has been helping dozens of people who were displaced by fighting between the Burmese military and the CDF in early June, including the elderly, women, and children. These people sheltered in the parish following the conflict. The CDF had given the clergy two warnings not to contact the junta for support and arrested Father Tin Tang when he did not cut off contact with the military.

The CDF stated on August 1 that, “We will release them only after our demands of transferring the priest from Surkhua to Hakha and signing letters of recommendation from two church leaders are fulfilled.”

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