Myanmar Catholic Church calls for disarmament after Christmas Eve massacre of Christians

The Catholic Church of Myanmar has called for an end to the conflict that has pitted the military junta against the civilian population for several months. A statement that follows the massacre of at least 35 Christian civilians in the Burmese state of Kayah on Christmas Eve. 

During our retrospective of the year 2021, we offered an update on the situation of Myanmar. Sadly, a new drama arose on Christmas Eve.

The 24 December, 35 civilians all Christians, including women and children, were killed by junta soldiers in the village of Mo So in Kayah State, a Catholic stronghold region in eastern Myanmar. Their bodies were then set on fire.

A drama described as "heartbreaking and horrific atrocity" by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon and president of the Myanmar Bishops' Conference on December 27.

"The fact that the bodies of those killed, burned and mutilated, were found on Christmas Day makes this appalling tragedy even more poignant and disgusting," he said, adding that "while most of the world celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the inhabitants of the village of Mo So suffered the terrible shock and pain of a scandalous act of inhumanity ”.

Alongside bishops, priests, nuns and lay leaders, he calls for an end to the conflict and to lay down arms, relayed by theAgenzia Fides.

“I ask everyone who owns guns to put them down. I urge the Myanmar army, the Tatmadaw, to stop bombing and targeting innocent people, stop destroying homes and churches, schools and clinics, and engage in dialogue with the government. pro-democracy movement and armed ethnic groups. I also call on armed groups and the People's Defense Forces to recognize that weapons do not solve the crisis, but perpetuate it, causing more deaths, more hunger, with devastating consequences for the education of our children, our economy and our health. "

"There is an urgent need to make peace and to draw together a new future of freedom with justice, truth and reconciliation", continues the Cardinal.

A call to end the conflict which, according to UCA News, comes days after the Archbishop of Yangon received Burmese army chief Min Aung Hlaing for Christmas at his home on December 23. The media reports that the cardinal has been extremely criticized for this meeting by several Catholic groups as well as by non-Christians.

According to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), a new army attack took place on December 30 against two other churches in the town of Thantlang. These are the Assemblies of God church and a church belonging to the Association of Baptist Churches. They were set on fire by the junta soldiers.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image Credit: Shutterstock / R. Bociaga

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