Burma Army Targets Christian Civilians in War on Insurgents
A recent attack on Christians and church buildings by Burmese soldiers in the state of Kachin reflects that Christian civilians are often targeted in the military offensive against insurgents, reports Compass Direct News. For decades, ethnic minorities have been fighting for independence or autonomy from successive military-led regimes, but when Burmese troops fight back, they don't just target the armed groups. On Oct. 16, a group of about 150 soldiers fired at a church, detained a priest and four church members, and burned a church building in a city where insurgents were purportedly hiding guns and bombs. "Targeting of Christians is not unusual in Burma's conflict zones," said Nawdin Lahpai of the Kachin News Group. "The incident reflects the longtime policy of the Buddhist-Burman-majority Burmese government, which discriminates against the ethnic Christian minority." Of the roughly 56 million people in Burma, about 90 percent are Buddhist, and religious conflicts date back decades to the country's independence in 1948.