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Myanmar junta airstrikes destroy hospital

The latest attack on Vawmm’tu cottage hospital near Mindat township in western Chin state was reported on April 28
This aerial photo taken on October 29, 2021, shows smoke and fires from Thantlang, in Chin State, where more than 160 buildings have been destroyed by shelling from Junta military troops, according to local media.

This aerial photo taken on Oct. 29, 2021, shows smoke and fires from Thantlang, in Chin State, where more than 160 buildings have been destroyed by shelling from Junta military troops, according to local media. (Photo: AFP)

Published: April 30, 2024 11:37 AM GMT
Updated: April 30, 2024 11:41 AM GMT

A village hospital that provides vital health care services to thousands of people in Myanmar’s conflict-torn western Chin state has been repeatedly hit by junta airstrikes despite no active fighting in the region.

The latest attack on the Vawmm’tu cottage hospital in Vawmm village, about 50 kilometers from Mindat township, was reported on April 28 afternoon. The junta forces also attacked a village clinic in Kanpetlat township in the Chin state on the same day, according to media reports.

“The latest attack came following the aerial bombing on the hospital on April 25 that killed five civilians, including four patients and a visitor, and wounded 30 others,” said Yaw Mang, spokesperson of the anti-junta people’s administration team.

Local sources said there was no ongoing fighting in the region.

“We are shocked by the junta’s deliberate attacks on the hospital that destroyed many buildings,” a person from Mindat township told UCA News on April 30. He did not reveal his name for security reasons.

Free Burma Rangers, a Christian humanitarian group that provides healthcare for ethnic groups, said the entire hospital, storehouse, and staff residences were destroyed in the attack on April 25.

The doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers survived the attacks, but vital supplies of medicines, gasoline, and ambulances were damaged.

“Urgent help is needed to resume health services for the local population of 400,000 who depend on the hospital, especially for major surgeries,” the group said on April 29.

The Interim Chin National Consultative Council also appealed for help to restore the hospital, which serves people in Chin state and the neighboring Magwe region.

“The junta’s attack on the hospital amounts to a crime against humanity,” it said in a statement.

Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government (NUG) strongly condemned the deliberate attacks, calling them a breach of the Geneva Conventions.

The military junta has launched 1,293 attacks on health facilities, killing 104 and injuring 131 health workers and destroying 343 facilities since the coup on Feb.1, 2021, according to the NUG’s Ministry of Health.

The fighting had been paused in the mountainous and underdeveloped Chin state, where 85 percent of the 478,000 people are Christians.

The Southeast Asian nation ranked 17th on Open Doors USA’s 2024 World Watch list of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution.

Christians make up some 6 percent of Myanmar’s population of 54 million, while Buddhism is the state religion, with nearly 89 percent of the population adhering to it.

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