Lashio Church in Myanmar Raided by Military and Police
14 Christians, including Pastors and Seminary Students Arrested
03/01/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 28, the military and police raided the Kachin Baptist Church (KBC) in Lashio, Shan state twice, before taking away 14 Christians. According to the congregation, a group of youth caught plainclothes who had been spying on an anti-coup protestor earlier and investigated him in the compound before releasing him. The compound is large and people in the church were not even aware of what was going on. At the time, there was theological training underway. As retaliation, at 1:00 pm military and police forces in riot gear raided the church compound, knocking down the main gate of the church and causing some damage inside before arresting 13 people.
A source close to KBC told Voice of America Burmese service “The police searched KBC compound. A lot of police cars came and there were shootings. It seems like they used rubber bullets. Can’t say how many casualties there are.”
At 5:00 pm, the armed military and police forces returned and searched the church compound while intimidating people in the neighborhood. This time they took KBC church secretary, according to congregants who live nearby. Videos recorded by the neighbors examined by ICC documented the moments of the raids. At least dozens of police in gear were inside the church compound. Despite the fact that Christians at the KBC compound were not involved in the plainclothes episode earlier, the authorities had arrested a total of 14 people. This included four ministers, six church youth, three seminary students, and a church secretary.
Their names are as follow:
- Dr. L Zau Ring
- Maw She
- Zau Doi Aung
- Seng Ra Awng
- K.D Naw Mai
Three seminary students
- Lagang Dau Gyung
- HangKum Hkawng Gyung
- Gum Sut Nan
- Hawng Hkawng
- Zau Ja Hpraw
- Ah Sut
- Hkaw Ying
- Dan Seng Awng
No one knows where these detainees are, as the police station in the Lashio area has no information to provide. The police from Lashio said these forces are not people who stationed in Lashio.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “As the military junta cracks down on peaceful protests all over Myanmar, it is worrisome that 14 Christians from KBC Lashio have been arrested without due process. The Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) has been hostile towards ethnic Kachin, who are predominantly Christian. What might happen to them is very concerning. ICC calls for their release and urges the global Church to pay attention to this case and the ongoing anti-coup movement, as more innocent lives are lost each day.”
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