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Myanmar army bombs church; parishioners reported missing

January 06, 2017

Two parishioners have disappeared after speaking with journalists about army air strikes on their church in Mong Ko, Myanmar (Burma), according to media reports.

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Local residents last reported seeing them near a military base.

The bombing of St. Francis Xavier Church in Shan State was part of a government campaign to retake Mong Ko from the Northern Alliance, a coalition of rebel groups. In a recent letter, Bishop Philip Lasap Za Hawng of Lashio said that government reports of the rebels storing weapons at the church were “fabricated,” according to The Irrawadddy, which is published by Burmese pro-democracy activists.

The reports of the bombing of the church and the disappearance of the parishioners come amid increasing international criticism of the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Eleven fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners recently signed a letter criticizing her government for engaging in ethnic cleansing.

The Southeast Asian nation of 56.9 million is 88% Buddhist, 6% Christian, and 4% Muslim.


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