05/24/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Four people were killed on May 24 when the Burmese military attacked a Catholic church in eastern Myanmar. This event is another in a string of attacks on Christians and churches that have occurred since the Feb 1. military coup.
The church compound was sheltering more than 300 people who were displaced due to intensified fighting between the military and an anti-coup resistance group called the People’s Defense Fource (PDF) over the weekend. The military carried out the attack around 1am at the Sacred Heart Church near Loikaw, the capital city of Kayah state.
The Ministry of International Cooperation of the National Unity Government of Myanmar recently released a statement describing how military forces fired a heavy artillery shell at the Catholic church, where elderly people and children were hiding after fleeing their homes following earlier attacks on their village this weekend. The roof, ceiling and cross of the church were damaged, and four people were injured in addition to the four who were killed.
Thousands of people fleeing the fighting have sought refuge in churches, monasteries, and convents, since they are considered safe. According to UCA News, Father Soe Naing, who is a spokesperson for the Loikaw Diocese, said that all those sheltering in the church had fled by the time church officials checked the damage building later in the morning on May 24.
He also told UCA News, “The Church is responding to humanitarian assistance but it’s a challenge for us as the number of internally displaced persons is increasing as a result of more fighting.” Fighting has intensified in eastern Myanmar over the weekend, especially in the Demoso township in Kayah state and the Mobye township in neighboring Shan state.
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