09/19/2022, 15.40
MYANMAR
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Myanmar troops lay mines near church, airstrikes hit a school

Troops desecrated a Catholic church and airstrikes hit an elementary school at a Buddhist monastery, killing 11 children. State media blame casualties on resistance groups, saying they use civilians as human shields. In fact, soldiers cremated the bodies to hide yet another crime.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar troops have desecrated a Catholic church using it as a kitchen for their own use.

The Church of the Mother of God is located in the city of Mobye, Diocese of Pekhon, in southern Shan State. Before they left it, soldiers laid mines around it, local sources told UCANews.

In another incident two days ago, planes hit a monastic elementary school killing 11 children. In an attempt to hide the crime, soldiers cremated the bodies.

Since it took over in February 2021, ousting the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s ruling military junta has been responsible for appalling violence against civilians.

Its forces have repeatedly targeted religious buildings, not only Christian, where civilians have sought refuge from the fighting.

Fighting in Mobye between regular troops and anti-coup forces began two weeks ago. Because soldiers who left the aforementioned church after a week laid mines, the anti-coup resistance warned parishioners from going near the building.

A video by the anti-coup resistance posted on social media shows the uniforms and kitchen supplies left by the troops.

“Damage to the church which is a holy place of God is a result of being attacked by the devil,” an exiled Myanmar priest said on Facebook.

More than 5,000 civilians have fled Mobye after at least 100 homes were destroyed by airstrikes.

In the city, a monastery was also recently hit. Several people were killed, including two girls aged seven and 12 who were hiding in it.

The Diocese of Pekhon is one of the areas most affected by the attacks of Myanmar’s regular army, along with the nearby city of Loikaw, Kayah State.

Six parishes have suffered repeated attacks and are now completely deserted, while at least 150,000 Christians fled Kayah and Shan taking refuge in neighbouring states.

On Saturday, two Mi-35 helicopters struck a monastic school in Let Yet Kone, a village in Sagaing region. Seven children died right away, while four more died later from their wounds, with 17 people injured, including teachers and pupils.

According to locals, soldiers forced the local population to cooperate, then cremated the bodies in Ye-U, a village that has a military outpost.

“There were pools of blood inside the school. Pieces of flesh were scattered all over the place, on fans, on the walls and on the ceiling,” said a villager who went to see the school after the attack.

“The parents of two children came to search for their children, but all that was left were the clothes,” the villager added, “so parents could not hold funerals.”

By contrast, Myanmar state media claimed that that resistance groups, i.e. the Kachin Independence Army and the People's Defence Forces, were using the school and the village to hide and that civilians died because they were used as human shields.

For residents, the attack by the military regime was unwarranted.

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