ASIA / MYANMAR – Catholic Church hit by rockets, Baptist churches set on fire


ASIA / MYANMAR – Catholic Church hit by rockets, Baptist churches set on fire

Pekhon (Agenzia Fides) – Last night, rockets and bullets from heavy weapons fired by soldiers of the Burmese army hit the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, in the diocese of Pekhon, in the south of the state Shan, in eastern Myanmar. As reported to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Julio Oo, priest of the diocese of Pekhon, “it is an execrable act, to be condemned”. “The church complex – reports Fr. Julio – is a place of refuge and security in the generalized instability of a violent conflict, given that, while there is fighting in the region, hundreds of people take refuge in the cathedral complex “.
As local resistance militias fight the army eight miles from the city, “such acts of gratuitous violence against civilians and places of worship increase the frustration and protest of young people against the army. forces, ”added the priest.
According to local sources in the Christian community, the army could specifically target the churches because “they are the core of the community, by destroying them, the military wants to destroy the hope of the people”. The population of the Diocese of Pekhon is approximately 340,000 (many of whom belong to ethnic minorities such as Shan, Pa-Oh, Intha, Kayan, Kayah) and there are approximately 55,000 Catholics.
In other separate incidents, the army in Myanmar has devastated and burned down houses and a Baptist church in the village of Ral Ti in Falam Municipality in Burmese Chin state in recent days.
While clearing away the rubble, a Baptist pastor in the village and members of the community miraculously found the Bibles and the hymnbook intact.
The army also torched 134 homes in the town of Thang Tlang, also in Chin state, torching two other Christian churches, a Presbyterian and a Baptist, in retaliation against local rebels. A local Christian faithful, Lian Hmung Sakhon tells Agenzia Fides: “With such violence, destroying and burning down houses and churches, the army will not win, but it will create even more hostility and rebellion among the people. civilian population and young people ”(JZ-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 10/11/2021)

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