06/07/2021, 14.24
MYANMAR
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Military attack (again) a Catholic church in Kayah State

Myanmar military attacked another place of worship in Kayah State. No casualties or injuries were reported. About 20 people also died in Ayeyarwady in clashes between the military and rebels. ASEAN and China meet military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar’s military attacked the Catholic Church of Mary Queen of Peace in Daw Ngan Kha, Kayah State.

The incident occurred yesterday, feast of Corpus Christi. No casualties or injuries were reported, but the building was badly damaged by artillery fire.

The attack appears to be deliberate, since the church compound is fairly large and clearly visible on a busy street.

Several nearby houses were also damaged by the shelling, which began in the early hours of Sunday.

The attack took place even though the military had promised to spare church buildings from such violent actions.

This is the sixth time in the last two weeks that a church has been targeted in Myanmar.

In May the military attacked a Catholic church in the village of Kayan Thaya, St Joseph's church in Demoso, and the Sacred Heart Church in Kayantharyar, near  Loikaw, killing four people who had found refuge inside.  

In Kayah State, the Catholic Church is working with various donors to help some 300,000 people displaced by indiscriminate violence.

Myanmar’s military have not only targeted humanitarian organisations, but, according to some observers, they are trying to turn the conflict with the resistance movement into a religious war. Myanmar Catholics represent about 1.5 per cent of the population.

On Saturday, security forces killed at least 20 civilians in the Ayeyarwady region, the heaviest death toll in the last two months.

The clash took place in the village of Hlayswe. According to several local sources, residents  armed with catapults and crossbows fought back against troops searching for weapons.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the military has killed 849 people since the 1 February coup.

Meanwhile, envoys from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have called on the Myanmar government to release all political prisoners.

Last Friday, ASEAN officials met with the head of the military junta, General Min Aung Hlaing, who received the Chinese ambassador the following day.

This week, the Myanmar crisis is expected to be on the agenda at a special meeting in Chongqing between ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers. Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin will also attend the meeting.

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