Myanmar (MNN) — More than 70 houses, a mobile health clinic and two schools in Eastern Burma have been burnt down by army patrols stepping up the offensive on Karen villagers.
Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar, is the largest country by geographical area in Indochina (mainland Southeast Asia).
The Karen make up approximately 7 percent of the total Burmese population of 47 million people. They have fought for independence from Burma for over 60 years.
Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders just returned from the region. "They set fire to 46 houses in one area, 28 in another area. They burned a mobile health clinic, middle school and nursery school. Thousands more people have been displaced and are in hiding following the attack."
Klein says this is a blatant attack against Christians — bordering on genocide. He's concerned because Vision Beyond Borders is helping with Cyclone Nargis recovery. "We're actually building more orphanages right now. We're bringing more kids in. And we're facing more and more opposition from the government. They don't want, especially Christians, to be helping kids come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and kids to grow up with a conviction to serve God first and foremost."
More attacks are expected as October elections draw near. "I was just in Burma last week. Talking with my contacts there, they're concerned that a lot more people will be killed before the elections."
Myanmar is run by a military junta. Junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe offered assurances that the upcoming election would be free and fair. However, Shwe desires power. "He's amassing huge amount of weather — probably over $1 billion now that he has taken from the country. He wants to become a complete dictator and have supreme control over the whole country." However, he doesn't have complete support of all the other military leaders.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Benedict Rogers said in a news release, "These latest attacks serve as clear evidence of a brutal plan of ethnic cleansing against the minorities, instigated by Burma's military regime. Karen villagers have been subjected to severe human rights violations for far too long. Governments need to respond to these crimes against humanity by working to establish a United Nations commission of inquiry and an immediate and universal arms embargo."
CSW is a human rights organization which works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for everyone.