Rome Newsroom, May 25, 2021 / 09:00 am
Four people were killed after the Burmese army shelled a Catholic church in the early hours of Monday.
The National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG), which describes itself as the country’s legitimate governing authority following a Feb. 1 coup, said that four civilians were killed and around eight others injured when the military fired a heavy artillery shell at a Catholic church in Kayan Thar Yar village in the eastern Kayah State.
The NUG said in a statement that the attack occurred at 1 a.m. on May 24. The statement was accompanied by photographs showing a church with a demolished roof and a floor covered with bloodstains, clothing, and debris.
The NUG, which was formed on April 16, said that children and elderly people were hiding in the church after fleeing their homes amid bombardment.
Vatican News reported on May 25 that all those killed and injured were Catholics.
The Asian Catholic news agency UCA News identified the church as Sacred Heart Church, near Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State. It said that more than 300 people had sought refuge there amid clashes between the military and group called the People’s Defense Force.
Benedict Rogers, a senior analyst on East Asia for the human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), lamented rising civilian deaths following a crackdown by the military, known as the Tatmadaw.
“Civilians in Myanmar have now been subjected to horrific violations at the hands of the Tatmadaw for well over 100 days,” he said.