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Muse Township bans medical treatment to wounded ethnic soldiers

FILE PHOTO: A Ta’ang National Liberation Army soldier looks on during the 51st anniversary of Ta’ang National Resistance Day at Homain, Nansan Township, in northern Shan State, on 12 January 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

The township administrator of Muse in northern Shan State has issued a ban on members of ethnic armed groups receiving medical treatment in his district.

In a letter addressed to the Muse Township police force, the head of Muse General Hospital and ward/villages administrators, Muse’s head official writes: “During the frequent clashes … in northern Shan State, wounded members of the insurgent groups have been taken [across the border] to China to receive medical treatment. For that reason, Union-level bilateral talks between the Myanmar and Chinese governments had been held to prevent [those insurgents] receiving treatment in China.”

The letter goes on to instruct all relevant agencies to “immediately inform the local military battalion” or any relevant government department if they know of situations where wounded ethnic soldiers are seeking medical treatment in local hospitals, rural health departments, private hospitals or dispensaries in their area of responsibility.

Speaking to DVB, Kyaw Zin, the chief of police in Muse Township, said: “Hospitals currently provide medical treatment to everyone indiscriminately. It is up to the doctors to decide whether to treat or not.”

In response, Dr. Myo Zaw, the head of Muse General Hospital, said, “How can we know when a patient comes in that he or she is an insurgent? Insurgents do not have the word, ‘insurgent’ written on their foreheads.”

Several ethnic armies have a strong presence in the Muse area, including the Kachin Independence Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. Collectively, they are known as the Northern Alliance.