Burmese army sets Christian village on fire

Monday, October 18, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - The Burmese Army has burned down a whole village in Myanmar’s Chin state, a traditionally Christian stronghold, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. The attack took place earlier this month as part of a “clearance operation” designed to crush opposition to Burmese military rule in Chin state.

Chin state civilians have been resisting the Tatmadaw since the February 1 coup, and fighting has intensified as the Burmese army moves to attack ethnic and religious minorities in the country, ICC said.

On October 13, Burmese soldiers arrived in Rialti village and began setting buildings, including a Baptist church on fire, ICC said. The soldiers have also seen looting homes and killing livestock.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, a leader from Rialti Village Baptist Church said in a statement about the arson attack: “This morning, it was the church and our warehouse—those two were set on fire earlier this morning and at about 9:00 a.m., the remaining three houses,” he said. “All were gone in a short while. The whole village, including the church, was set on fire. Eight houses were torched yesterday. In all, 13 buildings, including the church, were destroyed.”

Salai Za Op Lin, deputy executive director of the India-based Chin Human Rights Organization, confirmed the attack, describing it as a “war crime.” In its report about the situation in Myanmar, ICC noted “Civilians from ethnic regions, including predominantly Christian areas in Kayah, Chin, Kachin, and Karen states, have borne the brunt of the renewed conflict where people have long faced oppression and persecution under iron-fisted military rule for more than five decades.”