Tatmadaw Raids Catholic Institutions in Kayah State, Myanmar

11/24/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – On November 22, the Myanmar military junta known as the Tatmadaw raided a cathedral, bishop’s house, and church-run clinic in the primarily Catholic Kayah State in Myanmar. Over 200 soldiers and police officers raided Christ the King Cathedral in Loikaw, Kayah State’s capital, as well as raided the Karuna clinic and bishop’s house. In the clinic, the Tatmadaw forced 40 patients out, in addition to arresting 18 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and volunteers. They also removed records of medical equipment.

During the raids, the Tatmadaw denied people’s access to the cathedral by blocking roads leading to the cathedral compound. One church official commented on the raid, saying, “One group after another checked and searched the buildings including the bishop’s house at least three times.” Another church official, Father Francis Soe Naing, chancellor of Loikaw Diocese, said, “We are carrying out charitable works and weren’t involved in any wrongdoing. We have no idea why they raided us and what they searched for.”

This is not the first time that the Diocese of Loikaw has been affected by the Tatmadaw since the Feb. 1 coup. At least 10 parishes in the diocese have already been severely affected by the conflict, which displaced over 100,000 people. Additionally, over five Catholic churches in the diocese have been damaged by artillery fire. The conflict has had an especially intense impact on the predominantly Christian regions which house the Kayah, Chin, and Kachin peoples, resulting in churches being attacked and raided. Kayah State, in particular, is a stronghold of Catholicism, with a population of 90,000 Catholics, about one-quarter of the total population.

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