Church Looted, Worshippers Forced as Porters in Kachin State
09 November 2011: Burma Army soldiers opened fire at a church, injuring several worshippers with their pastor taken to hospital after being severely tortured in Wai Maw Township, Kachin State, a report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said.
The Assembly of God Church in Muk Chyik village was attacked last Sunday and at least 50 church-goers were ordered to work as forced porters for soldiers from Magwe-based Light Infantry Division No. 88, according to the report.
It is reported that Rev. Yajawng Hkawng, whose leg was injured, is now being treated in a hospital after being detained and interrogated by Burma Army soldiers.
Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia Team Leader said attacking churches where civilians are gathering to pray peacefully is a serious violation of religious freedom as he called on the international community to take immediate action to provide humanitarian assistance and to end the culture of impunity in Burma.
The Kachin News group quoted an eyewitness saying that Burmese soldiers shot the church, took the offering box and destroyed the building.
Villagers who were suspected of helping the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were arrested, according to sources.
“The military in Burma has unleashed yet another wave of terror against civilians in the ethnic states, at a time when the regime is speaking about reform. The regime is perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity. These attacks in Kachin State, involving rape, forced labour, torture, the killings of civilians, and religious persecution are grave violations of international law and must be stopped,” Ben Rogers added.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang