ASIA/MYANMAR - Bishop to the Kachin people, in the middle of the conflict: "Have faith in God, little flock"

Monday, 27 June 2011

Myitkyina (Agenzia Fides) - The war gives no respite in the state of Kachin, in northern Myanmar. While violence continues, putting a strain on the civilian population, through Caritas Myanmar (Karuna) solidarity towards Kachin ethnic group(one million people with a large Christian majority)is creeping in.
Asking for anonymity for security reasons, a priest of the diocese of Myitkyina (which covers the territory of the Kachin state)tells Fides about the difficult situation that the faithful live. " Violence and bombings continue. The problem for the displaced is to abandon their crops, which means hunger, suffering, and see the work and sacrifice of one year fade away. The churches are open for the reception, Caritas has been mobilized and all dioceses are organizing aid for the diocese of Myitkyina, affected by the conflict. The news is fragmentary, but we know that the suffering of civilians and displaced persons continue rising, over 10 thousand. All this is made more difficult by the rainy season ". At present, informs the priest, there are at least 800 displaced people camped in Myitkyina: 220 displaced people in the Catholic Church of St. Joseph, 330 in the Baptist church, and others in Buddhist temples scattered around the villages.
To reach refugees and civilians who find themselves in conflict areas, isolated from communication, are the waves of Radio Veritas and Radio Free Asia. Radio Veritas turns to the refugees encouraging them and also informing them about the fighting, sometimes inviting them to leave the territories for their safety.
As reported by the local Church to Fides, His Exc. Mgr. Francis Daw Tang, Bishop of Myitkyina, very concerned about the situation of the Kachin faithful, spoke to Radio Veritas launching an appeal to the people and saying: "I pray for you, my little flock, and I will not leave you alone. The Church is ready to help you, our churches and the faithful will welcome you with open arms, to dry your tears and console your pain. Stay united, bring the weights of each other, the Lord is near you. Have faith in Him, all of us continue to pray for peace".
Meanwhile in the rest of the Myamnar news about the ongoing conflict in the North is not spread. The official newspaper of the regime does not talk about it or when it does, it blames the violence on the Kachin rebel army. Meanwhile, international pressure is growing: The U.S. government has called for an end to hostilities and a UN investigation for human rights violations that occur in the current conflict. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/27/2011)