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05/10/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – The Burmese military, which has governed the country since it staged a coup in February of 2021, has repeatedly targeted churches and other religious buildings throughout the country.

The military has consistently been attacking a historically Catholic village in central Myanmar called Chan Thar. On May 7, twenty houses were burned during a military raid on the village, which is in the Sagaing region.  

While there were no reported civilian casualties from the assault, thousands of people were forced to flee their homes to nearby safe areas.  

A local Catholic said it was a sorrowful day as her home as well as those of her uncle, aunt, and sister, were among the houses burned. “How can I give moral support to the relatives and other villagers?” she asked. 

The attack on the Catholic village came amid an escalation in fighting between the military and people’s defense forces (PDFs) in nearby areas. 

The village had already been raided at least three times by the military. Two people, including one who was mentally disabled, were shot dead, and three people were severely beaten in a raid on Jan. 10 while junta troops destroyed statues and looted property. 

Since January, thousands of Catholics from the village in a region where Christians and Buddhists have coexisted peacefully for decades have fled to safe areas near Mandalay. 

Three historic Catholic villages in the Sagaing region, the Bamar heartland where resistance has been growing to the military among PDFs, have been targeted, while the military has continued attacking civilians’ homes and churches in predominantly Christian regions, including Kayah state in eastern Myanmar. 

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