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Myanmar: Military regime arrests two Catholic priests

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.

“Two Catholic priests arrested by Myanmar junta,” UCA News, February 24, 2022:

Myanmar’s military regime has arrested two Catholic priests who were on their way to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Shan state.

Father John Paul Lwel and Father John Bosco, who belong to the St. Therese Little Way Missionary Institute, were arrested by junta soldiers and the Pa-O National Army, an ethnic armed group, at a checkpoint on Feb. 21, said local church sources.

Senior clergy from Pekhon Diocese confirmed that the two religious priests have been arrested but said the reason for their arrest was not yet known.

Church officials are trying to contact authorities for the release of the clergy.

Two car drivers and a young student were also arrested with the priests.

The arrest of the clergy came even as fighting between the military and people’s defense forces (PDFs) intensified in Mobye township in Pekhon Diocese, where junta forces have deployed airstrikes, armored vehicles and heavy weapons.

Thousands of people including Christians have been displaced due to the ongoing fighting.

Pekhon Diocese covers southern Shan state and is one of the worst-affected areas along with Loikaw Diocese in Kayah state due to the escalating conflict between the military and the combined rebel forces of the Karenni Army and newly emerged PDFs since May 2021.

Catholics who have fled their homes in Pekhon Diocese have taken refuge at church premises in Taunggyi Archdiocese.

Clergy have been regularly targeted by the junta. Nine priests from Banmaw, Mandalay and Hakha dioceses were arrested last year on suspicion of supporting the PDFs….

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