As violence worsens in Myanmar, almost 7,000 people from Christian minority group Kachin were forced to leave their homes since fighting between the army and a rebel group started in April 2018, reports Premier.
Families from Kachin State had no choice but to abandon their homes and travel long distances by foot to find shelter in churches and camps.
Local churches are trying their best to provide food and shelter to those affected by the conflict. “They also donate food and other materials as much as they can to help [but] prices of commodities [have gone] up to five times the usual price,” a source told the World Watch Monitor.
A mission school was caught in the crossfire. Military jetfighters bombed the Kachin Baptist Mission School on May 12 while villagers were away at work. Fortunately, no casualty was reported.
Hkun Htoy Layang of Kachin Relief Fund denounced the attack on the school, reports Australian-based news website Sight Magazine.
“It is outrageous that the Burma army targets a Kachin Baptist mission school. We are very concerned that the Burma army is targeting more civilians throughout Kachin State, with impunity,” said Layang.
Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country with several ethnic minority groups fighting for greater autonomy for decades. Intermittent clashes during the last few years showed an increased government offensive against Kachin areas.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas expressed concern over the intensifying civil war in Myanmar. “We urge the Burmese government and military to stop this offensive, and to begin a genuine political dialogue with the Kachin and other ethnic groups.” He urged the international community to condemn and not turn a blind eye to the bombing of religious and educational buildings in the country.
UN’s human rights expert for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said, “What we are seeing in Kachin state over the past few weeks is wholly unacceptable, and must stop immediately. Innocent civilians are being killed and injured, and hundreds of families are now fleeing for their lives.”