Christians Fear Violence in the CHT | Persecution

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Christians Fear Violence in the CHT

07/05/2022 Bangladesh (International Christian Concern) – This past weekend, on July 3, the Tripura Welfare Association in Bangladesh organized a human chain to protest a recent terrorist attack in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Hundreds of locals marched in the streets to demand justice and compensation for the victims’ families. The attack itself took place on June 21, with members of the Kuki-Chin National Front firing indiscriminately at civilians and striking them with melee weapons. Three members of the same family were killed by gunfire, another person was hacked to death, and two children were badly hurt.

This kind of violence is far from unprecedented in the CHT, a geographically isolated region of Bangladesh hosting a large concentration of indigenous minority peoples. The area has been plagued by ethnic conflict for decades. State and non-state actors were responsible for numerous massacres against insurgents and civilians in the area from 1975 until the official 1997 peace accord. Since then, ethnic animosity in the CHT has declined in severity but has certainly not disappeared. The recent attack has alarmed CHT locals, raising fears of future escalation.

Christians are among those in fear of ethnic conflict and persecution in the CHT. One local Baptist man recounted how he and his family fled their village after hearing the gunfire—some of the victims were his neighbors. Speaking to UCA News, the man said, “We are not safe anywhere now. The terrorists have been threatening us for the last few months and they are demanding various resources from us. Now we want protection by the government.” So far, such protection from the government is not forthcoming. A political party in the CTH, the JSS, commented, “No effective action has yet been taken by the government against the terrorists. It is extremely worrying.” We pray for peace in the CTH and safety for Christians there who face growing threats of violence.

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