Myanmar: Burmese army attacks continue in predominantly Christian Chin state

In Chin state, a predominantly Christian region located in the northwest of the country, more than 160 buildings including at least two churches were destroyed over the weekend by fires caused by government troops. 

During the United Nations General Assembly, which took place on Friday, October 22 in New York, Tom Andrews, UN human rights expert asserted that an "even more serious disaster in terms of human rights and loss of human life" was to be expected as the military junta prepared to deploy "tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weapons in the north of Myanmar ”.

These assertions seem to be confirmed while we deplore the new attacks carried out by the Burmese army in the town of Thantlang in the state of Chin. Bomb fires broke out in the city on Friday and Saturday, devastating more than 160 buildings, including at least two churches, according to Christianity Today (CT).

New satellite data analyzed by Human Rights Watch corroborate his information. Thermal anomalies that indicate fires were detected in the town of Thantlang on October 29 at 12:29 p.m. More than twelve hours later, new thermal anomalies were again detected, indicating a second wave of fires.

The spokesperson for the army, the General Zaw Min Tun maintains that these fires were lit by members of the local militia, Chinland Defense Force, after clashes with soldiers of the Burmese army. However, he gave no proof. For their part, the local defense forces say the shelling began as they tried to prevent soldiers from looting a house in the town.

CT reports that the Chin Human Rights Organization issued a statement, signed by the group's deputy executive director, Salai Za Uk Ling, in which he referred to the material damage caused by the fire.

“Most of the structures on the main street, which house shop stalls and all kinds of businesses, have been destroyed. There is nothing more to save. The manner in which the fire burned indicates that it was not just incendiary rocket fire, but also the deliberate burning of houses and structures. "

The Presbyterian Church and the building housing the Pentecostal Church were among 164 structures that were destroyed.

“The high number of troops sent to Chin State over the past few days and weeks is truly unprecedented. They brought destruction and death with them, ”said the human rights group which called for urgent action by the UN Security Council“ to help prevent mass atrocities before they were killed. 'they don't happen'.

Chin State is a region of Christian majority, in a country where Buddhism is the most practiced religion. However, these manifestations of violence do not appear to target Christians specifically as noted by Dave Eubank, leader of the Christian humanitarian service movement Free Burma Rangers. He believes that they are rather linked to the resistance of the people to the military regime.

“I don't see a policy directed against Christians, it's just Christians standing in the way [of the regime]. "

Attacks in Thantlang Town Strongly Condemned by Governments American et Swedish.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image Credit: R. Bociaga / Shutterstock.com

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