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08/06/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this week, ICC reported on a priest and a catechist who were abducted by a local defense force in Chin state after being accused of supplying information to the military, receiving medical support from the junta, and urging local people to receive the junta’s support. Since the February 1st coup overthrew the democratically elected government, pro-democracy civilian forces have been fighting against military control.

These forces have prohibited civilians from receiving support from the military government, seeing it as a threat to their cause. Since the priest and catechist accepted medical supplies and other aid from the military junta even after being warned to stop, they were arrested by the local Chinland Defense Forces (CDF) on July 26th.

Thankfully, the CDF has released the priest, Father Noel Hrang Tin Thang, and the catechist on August 4th, following mediation by Catholic leaders. On August 1st, Bishop Lucius Hre Kung had called for the pair to be released. A church social worker told UCA News, “The pair were in good health as they were treated well during nine days of detention. They returned to their parish yesterday evening.”

The release was in accordance with the demands of the CDF. These included the transfer of the priest from his village of Surkhua to the nearby town of Hakha to avoid contact with the military. The priest also had to agree not to undertake government projects.

Father Tin Thang has been helping internally displaced people, including the elderly, women, and children who took refuge in the parish following clashes in early June. He also carries out social development projects in his parish, according to residents.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: press@persecution.org.