04/04/2020 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – In an effort to work alongside government efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, Myanmar’s regional military commanders have provided medicine, protective masks, hand sanitizer and conducted medical checks for religious leaders in different states and regions.
Irrawaddy reports that over the past week, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen, regional military commanders visited monasteries, churches, mosques and Hindu temples to help disinfect the sites and meet with senior religious leaders.
Yangon Region military commander Major General Thet Pone visited the Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Bo, provided the Catholic Archdiocese of Yangon with preventive supplies and conducted medical checks. A military medical team led by the regional commander also disinfected the Archdiocese headquarters.
The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) also confirmed on Sunday that the military’s North Command conducted medical checks and sanitation activities at its office and at churches in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina.
The Office of the Commander-in-Chief stated on their website that they are conducting the activities as a form of “cooperation” with the government’s efforts to control COVID-19.
The relationship between the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese military has deteriorated recently, given the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party’s ongoing effort to reform the military-drafted Constitution.
Some believe that there may be a propaganda behind the military’s outreach activities— to both ease the tension with NLD and improve the image of the army as it is often criticized for persecuting religious minorities.