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05/28/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) –Myanmar’s Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, published an appeal on his Twitter page Wednesday night calling for military attacks on places of worship to end.

The appeal came after the Sunday attack by the Burmese military on Sacred Heart Church which left four dead and eight wounded. The church is located in Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State. According to residents and media reports, the conflict between the army and forces opposed to military rule has escalated in recent days in eastern Myanmar near the border of Shan and Kayah states, with dozens of security forces and local fighters killed.

“It is with immense sorrow and pain. We record our anguish at the attack on innocent civilians, who sought refuge in Sacred Heart Church,” Cardinal Bo said in his letter posted on Twitter. “The violent acts, including continuous shelling, using heavy weaponry on a frightened group of largely women and children” had resulted in the casualties, he said. “This needs to stop. We plead with you all, kindly do not escalate the war.”

Many churches, especially in the northern, predominately Christian states, are stepping up to shelter refugees, with thousands displaced from internal fighting. This has led to places of worship being increasingly targeted by the Burmese military.

On Wednesday, the estimated number of people internally displaced by the conflict has now risen to between 30,000 and 50,000 people.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected]