Myanmar military wages war against Christian ethnic minorities
Thousands of people have fled their homes and taken refuge at churches and in the jungle as Myanmar’s military conducts air strikes and indiscriminate attacks in Kachin, Kayah, Karen and Chin states - largely Christian areas.
Amid the recent conflict, churches have been raided and shelled and troops stationed in church compounds, while Catholic priests have been arrested and unarmed civilians including Christians have been killed.
At least 175,000 people have been displaced in Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin and Shan states following the escalation in fighting between the military and ethnic armed groups and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) since March.
PDF units in various regions have taken up homemade rifles and hunting weapons against the military, which has used air strikes and heavy artillery to crush the opposition.
The Southeast Asian nation is descending into political upheaval and widespread civil war following the military coup on Feb. 1 that overthrew the elected civilian government. The ensuing reign of terror against civilians and pro-democracy protesters has led to at least 872 deaths.
The latest military assault on Christians in ethnic regions is not the first time minority Christians have been attacked and targeted. Christians have borne the brunt of the decades-old civil war and faced oppression and persecution at the hands of the military which ruled for more than five decades.
While the world has paid much attention to the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state where they face state-sponsored violence and persecution, ethnic regions with largely Christian populations have become the victims during the world’s forgotten war.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine into Bangladesh following the military’s crackdown in August 2017.