Date:  September 17, 2022

Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – The Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) continues to target churches as it fights local resistance forces in Christian-majority states.

As intense fighting between the military and local defense forces took place last week, a Catholic church in southern Shan state became the latest victim as Tatmadaw soldiers laid siege to the sacred place, used it as a kitchen, and laid land mines around the building.

According to local Catholics, the junta occupied the Mother of God Church in Mobye, a predominantly Catholic town in southern Shan state for a few days before retreating from the church this week, following casualties in fierce fighting with local defense forces.

UCA News reports that dirty floors and pews covered with dust along with cooking pots and military uniforms were seen inside the church based on a viral video posted on social media by local defense forces. Parishioners were urged not to go near the church building as the army had laid mines near it.

“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.

“It’s so sad to see and it’s like destroying our hearts,” a Catholic laywoman said.

After the staged coup last February, the Buddhist-centric Tatmadaw has repeatedly occupied churches to prevent attacks by local defense forces while harming the emotions of Christians, many of whom have been forced to flee their home.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for Christians in Myanmar who are displaced and living in areas of war yet gathering to worship despite not having a building. Pray for peace throughout the region.