Myanmar: Catholic church hit by rockets, Baptist church destroyed

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart – Image Fides

Source: Fides

The Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the Diocese of Pekhon in eastern Myanmar was hit by rockets and heavy weapon bullets fired by Burmese army soldiers last Wednesday, local clergy reported .

Father Julio Oo, from the diocese of Pekhon, told Agenzia Fides: “it is an execrable act, to be condemned”.

Local resistance militias fight the army eight miles outside of town. Father Oo said: “Hundreds of local people have taken refuge in the cathedral complex … Such acts of gratuitous violence against civilians and places of worship increase frustration and youth protests against the army. . We are worried: the churches are becoming more and more numerous. targets of attack by military forces. “

According to local sources in the Christian community, the army specifically targets the churches because “they are the core of the community, by destroying them, the soldiers want to destroy the hope of the people”.

The population of Pekhon Diocese is approximately 340,000 (many of whom belong to ethnic minorities such as Shan, Pa-Oh, Intha, Kayan, Kayah). About 55,000 are Catholics.

In other separate incidents last week, the army in Myanmar devastated and burned down houses and a Baptist church in the village of Ral Ti, Falam municipality, Burmese Chin state.

While clearing away the rubble, a Baptist pastor in the village and members of the community miraculously found the Bibles and hymn books 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 told Agenzia Fides: “With such violence, destroying and setting fire to houses and churches, the army will not win, but it will create even more hostility and rebellion among the civilian population and youth.

Key words: Myanmar, Burma, Pekhon, P. Julio Oo

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