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06/09/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – For the second time in one month, homes in a historically Catholic village have been burned down by the military junta currently controlling Myanmar.   

According to local sources, more than two-thirds of the estimated 500 homes were destroyed during a June 7 military raid on Char Than village in the Sagaing region.  

Exactly one month earlier, on May 20, around 20 houses were destroyed in Char Than in fires set by troops.   

During this most recent raid, the troops shelled the village before entering it and set the houses on fire, according to a local source.   

“A motorcyclist had a narrow escape when a shell dropped near him and exploded. The villagers were crying as they witnessed their homes go up in smoke,” added another witness to the attack.  

Most of the residents of Char Than had already fled their homes for safer areas, seeking refuge in other church buildings and relatives living in different towns since the violence escalated in January of 2022.  

The junta seems to be specifically targeting three historically Catholic villages, Chaung Yoe, Monhla, and Chan Thar, located in the Buddhist Bamar heartland of Sagaing, in an attempt to quash the resistance from the people’s defense forces that are allegedly located there.  

This latest artillery and arson attack at Chan Thar came just three weeks after 320 homes were set on fire in Chaung Yoe during a military raid on May 20.  

The junta’s attacks in the Sagaing region continued with artillery shelling, airstrikes, and the burning of houses in several villages. In addition, troops have cut off mobile phones and internet lines in some towns.  

Around 18,900 homes have been burned down across the country since the coup began in February 2021. The Sagaing region has reported the highest number of destroyed homes, with around 3,840 burned down, according to the latest report by Research Myanmar.  

The ongoing conflict, particularly in Myanmar’s Christian regions, including Kayah, Chin, Karen, and Kachin states, has resulted in churches and convents being attacked and raided. Priests and pastors have also been killed and arrested.  

More than 1,900 people, including over 100 children, have been killed, and more than 13,000 have been detained since the coup began.  

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