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10/16/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – A Catholic church in eastern Myanmar has been shelled by the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) as fighting intensifies between ethnic militia, local defense forces, and the Tatmadaw.

On October 13, Immaculate Conception Church in Phruso township was hit by artillery fire. Phruso is in Kayah state, a Christian stronghold. Photos examined by ICC show the intentionality of such an attack. Luckily, parishioners were not worshipping inside at the time, so despite all the damages done to the church’s roof, windows, and walls, no casualties were reported.

According to UCA News, Father Francis Soe Naing, chancellor of Loikaw Diocese, said priests and nuns were present when the attack happened but people from the parish had already fled to safe areas. This is the fifth Catholic church in Loikaw Diocese attacked by the Tatmadaw since May.

The recent conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people from more than 10 parishes in Loikaw Diocese, including Catholics, who have taken refuge in churches, convents, and relatives’ homes.

With the latest call to fight against the Tatmadaw by parallel National Unity Government (NUG) last month, fighting has increased between the Tatmadaw and the Karenni Army, as well as local defense forces in Kayah state and neighboring Shan state.

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