11/12/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – The Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Pekhon, Shan State in Myanmar was attacked by Tatmadaw military fire on Tuesday, November 9. The windows and pews of the church were damaged from the attack, but there were no human casualties. The attack was perpetrated by Myanmar’s military junta, which seeks to dominate over local militias. This is not the first time that this cathedral has suffered an attack from military fire. In June, the cathedral was also attacked by the same forces.
This attack occurred three days after a similar attack on a convent in the same township, the convent of the Sisters of Zetaman, located in Pekhon in the Jeroblous Marian shrine. Similarly, no casualties transpired in this attack. Pekhon township, the location of both the cathedral and the convent, has seen more than 10,000 displacements of residents due to the ongoing militancy of the Tatmadaw. The Diocese of Pekhon, together with the Diocese of Loikaw in Kayah State, are among the worst-affected regions in Myanmar.
The Tatmadaw has wreaked havoc on Myanmar since February, when a coup took place which overthrew the democratic government of Aung San Suu Kyi. As of April 12, 2021, over 700 civilians have been killed by Tatmadaw fire, and over 3,070 people have been detained. Christians have been especially vulnerable to the Tatmadaw’s hostility, though this is not the first time they’ve been targeted. Christians in the past suffered during the civil war and were persecuted at the hands of the military. Time will tell whether the Tatmadaw can be reasoned with diplomatically in order to spare the lives of innocent Christians and, following Pope Francis’s plea, to stop targeting religious sites.
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