Myanmar: Junta reduces historic Catholic village to ashes

December 19, 2022

The junta has not infrequently targeted Christian areas, and even churches, as it ostensibly hunts for anti-regime activity. It is likely indifferent to pleas not to target churches because in Myanmar as in other countries in the region, Christianity is seen as a foreign faith.

Christians make up about 8.2 percent of the population of Myanmar. Most of these Christians are Protestants, with Roman Catholics comprising most of the rest.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Myanmar, see here.

“Myanmar junta reduces historic Catholic village to ashes,” UCA News, December 16, 2022:

Soldiers continuing a junta arson campaign against villages in Myanmar’s central Sagaing region, have again attacked a historic Catholic village and burned down almost all the homes previously left standing, according to local sources

More than 300 houses, which were spared in previous attacks, were destroyed during a military raid on Chan Thar village in the predominantly Buddhist region on Dec. 14, they said.

It remains unclear if the century-old Assumption Church, a convent and the priest’s house were affected in this latest attack on the village, the third in seven months.

Buddhist villages nearby were also torched.

Some 20 houses were destroyed and two Catholics, including a mentally disabled man, were killed during a raid on May 7 and over 110 houses were set ablaze again by junta troops on June 7.

Local sources said almost all of the 500 houses in Chan Thar had been destroyed by fire on Dec. 14.

“Their villages are becoming a land of ashes”
“It is a historic Catholic village that has now become a place of ashes,” a priest from the village said.

Most of the villagers had already fled their homes for safer areas including church premises and relatives’ homes in Mandalay and other townships since January.

The junta specifically targeted three historic Catholic villages in the Bamar heartland of Sagaing to tackle growing resistance to military rule by people’s defense forces suspected of being based there.

Chaung Yoe, Mon Hla and Chan Thar, which are a part of Mandalay archdiocese, are known as Bayingyi villages because their inhabitants claim descent from Portuguese adventurers who arrived in the region in the 16th and 17th centuries. The villages have produced many bishops, priests, nuns and brothers….