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Myanmar junta shells largely Christian town, two churches and 160 houses burned

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

“More than 160 homes burn down in junta shelling of Chin State town,” Myanmar Now, October 30, 2021:

Amid an escalation of both armed resistance to military rule and reprisals from the junta forces, Myanmar army troops shelled the largely deserted western Chin State town of Thantlang on Friday, causing fires that destroyed more than 160 of the town’s 2,000 homes.  

The attack came after a junta soldier was shot dead at 9:30am by the Chinland Defence Force (CDF)—which has been monitoring the situation in Thantlang—after members of the local resistance group said they saw him looting a shop. 

In retaliation for the killing, the junta’s armed forces occupying the area shot at least 10 rounds of artillery into the town, which started fires upon exploding. Within an hour, several troops had arrived at the location at which the soldier was killed and also began torching houses “for no reason,” a CDF spokesperson said. 

“They walked into the town at around 10:30am and torched the houses at random,” the spokesperson from the CDF’s Thantlang chapter told Myanmar Now.

By 5pm, at least 40 houses had burnt down, with the fires continuing to burn throughout the night, he said. 

A man who lives near Thantlang told Myanmar Now that there was “still smoke coming out” of the town on Friday evening. 

By 9am Saturday morning, the fire had died down but homes were still smoldering, according to the Zalen news outlet. 

The Thantlang CDF took note of the estimated 160 houses that were destroyed and at the time of reporting were still notifying the homeowners, the group’s spokesperson said. 

The Church on the Rock, the Presbyterian church, and a building attached to the Thantlang Baptist Church—the town’s largest congregation—also caught fire in the shelling, the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) said in a statement on Friday night….

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