ASIA/MYANMAR - Regular Army Airstrikes: Two Churches hit in Chin State

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 civil war  

Kalay (Agenzia Fides) - Air strikes by the Burmese regular army hit a Catholic church and a Baptist church in the village of Lungtak, in the town of Tonzang, in the Burmese state of Chin, western Myanmar. The bombardment, which took place between May 11 and 12, also destroyed five houses and villagers have been terrified ever since. As local Fides sources confirmed, the affected Catholic church is under the Catholic Diocese of Kalay, and the local parish priest Titus En Za Khan was able to escape into the surrounding forests along with the faithful. "The violence continues to impact the civilian population, especially in the area of Sagaing, part of the diocese of Kalay," a local Catholic observer told Fides. The village of Luntak was attacked by the Burmese Air Force to eliminate rebel groups and was then occupied by Burmese troops along with two other villages. The regular army is taking action against fighters from the Chin National Army (CNA) and the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), another local military formation. As the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), an NGO with special advisory status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, notes, violence continues and prevails in Chin State, with its majority Christian population (86% of the total population) and there is a serious humanitarian crisis among the civilian population. At this stage of the conflict - given the military successes of the resistance forces, which have seen the armies of ethnic minorities join forces with the People's Defense Forces in the fight against the military junta that came to power in the 2021 coup - the regular Burmese army is stepping up in an attempt to regain ground, aerial bombardments, resulting in indiscriminate attacks on civilian homes, schools and churches, and worsening the humanitarian situation in many areas of the country. The armies of ethnic minorities, which have organized themselves since independence to fight the central government, are now making an important contribution to the ongoing conflict. These include the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State, the Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine State, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in Shan State, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Karenni Nationalities People's Liberation Front (KNPLF) and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF). In Chin State in particular, on the border with India and Bangladesh, resistance fighters from the Chin, Magwe and Rakhine areas have in recent weeks captured the town of Kyindwe in the Chin Hills of the Arakan Mountains, which is strategically important for the control of the area. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2024)