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Myanmar: Christian deacons presumed dead after abduction by military in Chin state

The junta has not infrequently targeted Christian areas, and even churches, as it ostensibly hunts for anti-regime activity. It is likely indifferent to pleas not to target churches because in Myanmar as in other countries in the region, Christianity is seen as a foreign faith.

Christians make up about 8.2 percent of the population of Myanmar. Most of these Christians are Protestants, with Roman Catholics comprising most of the rest.

For more ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Myanmar, see here.

“Christian deacons presumed dead after abduction by Myanmar military in Chin state,” Radio Free Asia, August 2, 2023:

Three Christian deacons abducted by Myanmar junta troops in mid-July on allegations that their church was involved in supporting an anti-regime armed group are believed to be dead, while a pastor detained with them escaped and is receiving treatment for his injuries, a local official said Wednesday.

On July 16, soldiers from the Khalaya 274 Battalion based in Mindat, a town in western Myanmar’s Chin state, abducted pastor Htang Kay On, and the three clergymen — Chai Kay, Hon Chway and Hon Kay — from the nearby Presbyterian Christian church compound in the town’s western quarter.

Yaw Man, a spokesman for the Mindat People’s Administration Team, told Radio Free Asia that he received information that the three deacons died during interrogation by soldiers. Mindat residents set up the team because they do not recognize the authority of Myanmar’s military government.

The troops also interrogated, beat and tortured the pastor. Believing him to be dead after he passed out, the soldiers threw him into a ditch near the military base two days later. When he regained consciousness, the pastor ran away.

Htang Kay On now is receiving medical treatment in a safe place, Yaw Man said.

Largely Christian Chin state, along with Sagaing region in the north and Kayah state in the east, have been hotbeds of armed resistance since the military illegally seized control from the elected government in a February 2021 coup. The regime has been unable to control these areas since then.

Visits to military base

Relatives of the three missing deacons held a prayer service for them on July 30, said a local resident close to the families.

“As we are Christians, we pray for them in our ways, trying to console the families that they will return to them in good health,” the person said….

“If we consider the situation, I will have to say that they have died,” said Yaw Man. “But we haven’t heard anything about them so far.”…

Soldiers have killed seven Christian ministers in Chin state since the coup, arrested 14 people, and damaged or destroyed over 70 Christian religious buildings, including churches, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization.

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