Churches Burned, Christian Civilians Killed Despite “Reforms” in Burma
A war between the Buddhist military of Burma and the Christian Kachin ethnic tribe has been going on for more than 50 years in the mountains of Northern Burma. A cease-fire held in place for 17 years until the summer of 2011, when the Burmese military renewed its offensive. Reports indicate that not only are civilians being killed and driven from their homes en masse, but religious discrimination directed against Christians is not uncommon. According to one report at least 66 churches have been burned by the attacking army, while Buddhist pagodas are left untouched.
3/14/2013 Burma (Morning Star News) – Days before Burmese President Thein Sein was reportedly nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last week, a report revealed his government troops had killed and raped dozens of civilians and burned hundreds of churches and homes.
At war with rebels in predominantly Christian Kachin state, government troops killed at least nine civilians and wounded more than a dozen others in mortar attacks in the northern state of Burma (also known as Myanmar) from September 2012 to February, according to a report by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT).
The actual number of civilian casualties is much higher, said Chiang Mai-based Kachin activist La Nu Nan.
“When I visited the Kachin state recently, I was told about 200 civilians had been killed, out of which about 40 were children,” he told Morning Star News, adding that the war has displaced about 100,000 civilians.
The Kachin rebels are among seven major resistance groups that have sought greater autonomy for more than five decades. All but the Kachins have signed a ceasefire agreement with the federal government in recent months.
“Our struggle is mainly about religious rights,” Nu Nan said, adding if the Kachin people had no military, they wouldn’t be allowed to freely practice their religion by the federal government, which is dominated by Buddhists from the majority Burman ethnic group.