Baptist group in Myanmar’s Chin state condemns killing of local pastor by military – Radio Free Asia
A Baptist group in Chin state, western Myanmar, condemned the killing of a local pastor by government troops in a clash between the Burmese military and local defense forces over the weekend -end in a conflict that has seen thousands of people driven from their homes.
Pastor Cung Biak Hum, 31, was shot and killed as he and several others rushed to put out fires started by government soldiers in an attack on their position in Thantlang town, state de Chin, the scene of recent fighting with civilian militias opposing the February army. takeover of the country, a local witness told RFA.
“The pastor and four or five young people came to the scene on a motorbike to help, and when the soldiers shot at them, he was shot and died instantly,” said the RFA source, speaking in anonymity for security reasons.
“Due to the constant fire and artillery shelling, no one was able to recover his body, but when volunteers subsequently cleaned his body at his mother’s house, it was found that his ring finger had been cut off and his wedding ring stolen.” , did he declare.
Pastor of Thantlan Century Baptist Church, Cung Biak Hum is survived by two sons and his pregnant wife, sources said.
Speaking to RFA, Lod Harlinrel, secretary of the Chin Baptist Convention, called the actions of Burmese troops fighting the local defense forces in Chin state barbaric and unacceptable and likely to produce a wider conflict.
“When firing their weapons, the military must carefully distinguish between their enemies and civilians. They shouldn’t just shoot their guns at random, ”he said. “On top of that, the reckless and barbaric actions of the military that we have seen in towns and cities should all have been avoided.”
“If they continue this way, these fights could turn into a larger ethno-religious conflict. That is why we strongly condemn these actions, ”he said.
Hkalam Samson, chairman of the Kachin Baptist Convention in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state, said his group supported the statement released by the Chin Baptist Convention on Sunday, which condemned the pastor’s murder, the stationing of Burmese troops in Christian churches, destruction of Bibles and other religious texts, and artillery fire on churches.
“As servants of God, we are to stand with the people. It could lead to opposition to our leaders, but we will stay with justice no matter what, ”said Hkalam Samson.
The murder of Pastor Cung Biak Hum should not lead to religious conflict in Myanmar because the country’s military does not discriminate between Christians and Buddhists, said Ashin Magawa, a Buddhist monk living in Mindat County, in Chin State.
“They would destroy both Christian churches and Buddhist monasteries as they see fit, if they see them as their enemies,” he said. “I want our fellow Christians to understand this, and I urge all of us not to see each other as enemies divided by race or religion.”
“It was a very bad deed on the part of the [junta] the army, ”he said.
The army retaliates against civilians
The combined forces of the Chin National Front (CNF) and the Chin Defense Force (CDF) launched an assault on the positions of the Burmese troops in the town of Thantlang on September 18, but withdrew when government troops launched the heavy artillery in retaliation against local civilians, a CNF said.
At least 18 houses and a hotel were set on fire in the dam, said Salai Htet Ni, an information official with the National Chin Front, a nationalist political organization that defends Myanmar’s Chin ethnic minority.
“We heard that they had lost 15 soldiers, but we withdrew because they were harming the lives and property of civilians,” said Salai Htet Ni.
Fighting alongside the CNF, the Chin Defense Force (CDF) was formed by citizens who took up arms following the February 1 military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Myanmar’s national leader Aung San Suu Kyi and his National League for Democracy.
Only around a thousand people still live in the city of Thantlan, as most of the more than 10,000 former residents of the city fled their homes to take refuge in Mizoram in India, or in the state capital of Chin, Hakha, sources said.
Between the February 1 coup that toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and early July, troops loyal to the junta killed 81 ethnic Chins, including two infants and a rape victim aged 15 years old, the Chin Business Institute said in an investigation at the time.
Requests for comment from Major General Zaw Min Htun, spokesperson for Myanmar’s ruling Military Council, went unanswered.
In the seven months following the February 1 coup, security forces killed 1,114 civilians and arrested at least 6,637 according to the Bangkok-based Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), including many during the crackdown on anti-junta protests.
Reported by the Myanmar service of RFA. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Richard Finney.