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Myanmar: Churches remain prime targets as conflict continues

Christians make up about 8.2 percent of the population of Myanmar. The overwhelming majority of these are Protestants, with Roman Catholics comprising most of the rest; there is, however, a small community of Armenian Orthodox Christians.

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

“Churches remain prime targets in conflict-torn Myanmar,” UCA News, February 17, 2022:

Churches in Myanmar’s predominantly Christian regions continue to be primary targets for the military junta despite calls by Catholic leaders to protect places of worship.

At least 15 parishes in Loikaw Diocese have been severely affected by escalating fighting, while at least seven Catholic churches have been hit by artillery shelling and airstrikes.

A senior clergy from the diocese told UCA News that they were in the middle of a war zone with sounds of gunfire, artillery shelling and airstrikes a daily affair.

“Amid the worsening situation, we remain together with hundreds of IDPs [internally displaced persons], especially women, children and the elderly in Loikaw town,” he said.

On Feb. 15, a building in the compound of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Doungankhar, Demoso township, was hit by artillery shelling by the military.

The extent of damage could not be ascertained as church officials could not reach the place amid ongoing fighting, said a senior clergy. The church was also hit by artillery shelling in June 2021.

Meanwhile, soldiers encamped inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Doukhu Parish of Loikaw township in Kayah state destroyed windows and pictures of the Way of the Cross three days ago, according to church sources.

The church was hit by military airstrikes on Jan.12 and one of the two bell towers was destroyed. But there were no reports of civilian casualties.

A local priest condemned the attack as an “abomination, desecration and sacrilege.”

A Baptist church and a camp for IDPs in a village in Demoso township were also hit by military shelling on Feb. 10, injuring one person….

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