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Catholic priest arrested by Myanmar military has been released

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The priest of the diocese of Banmaw, thirty-eight-year-old Fr. Colombano Labang Lar Di, was released after four days of detention, arrested by a Burmese army patrol on the 4th of May while on his way to the city of Myitkyina.


A military patrol had stopped him and brought him to the army headquarters to question him. As confirmed to Fides by Father Luke Lahpai Hka Li, Director of the Commission for Education in the diocese of Banmaw, the release took place after the Bishop of Banmaw, Raymond Sumlut Gam, sent a letter to the military asking for explanations for the arrest and specifying that the priest’s trip was due to pastoral needs.

According to the Bishop, the priest was treated well during his four days of detention. He was asked about the documents and photos found on his mobile phone, where there were documents on Bible courses in the Kachin language and photos of internally displaced people that the Church in Kachin State has been assisting continuously for ten years. 

Among the suspicions and accusations of the military against the priest, is that of supporting the rebels of the Kachin army and that of supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement that is challenging, with peaceful actions, the military junta that took power with a coup on February 1.

The priest’s arrest came as fighting intensified between the army and KIA in various areas of the Kachin State, which has seen the displacement of more than 5,000 new refugees since March. 

Source: Agenzia Fides

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