Burmese soldiers target Christians in recent attacks

By November 2, 2011

Burma (MNN) — A series of recent attacks in Burma provide more evidence that the Burmese army is targeting Christian civilians.

Mission Network News has been following reports of the genocide of the Karen Christians in Burma for years, but these attacks were against a different group of Christians from Kachin state. It's especially disconcerting news after recent changes in Burma have led many to believe that the nation was truly willing to turn over a new leaf for human rights.

Dyann Romeijn with Vision Beyond Borders says attacks have been significant. "Two churches have been completely destroyed in a village. They're taking people prisoner and forcing them to porter for the army. There have been reports of people killed and tortured, and also reports of rape and abuse."

Compass Direct News reports that Burmese soldiers went into Kachin on October 16, fired their guns at a church, detained church leaders without reason, and burned church property.

One church leader was accused of being a part of the people's militia and was arrested despite his protests that he was not involved in the local militia.

That was a few weeks ago, but Romeijn says VBB workers in refugee camps in Thailand have reason to believe the violence is ongoing.

"They're seeing a huge influx of people coming into Thailand again, which is always an indication that the violence is increasing," explains Romeijn.

It's still unclear as to why Burmese officials would be targeting Christians specifically, says Romeijn. Several ethnic groups are being targeted, some with more vigor at times and less at others.

The Gospel is spreading despite the attacks, especially within refugee camps. But many more Bibles alongside Christian literature are needed since these resources are forbidden in most areas. VBB plans to send four containers filled with food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and literature to the camps soon.

These resources will be a great help, but above anything else, Romeijn says God's people need to be in continual prayer for our Burmese brothers and sisters.

"It says in Hebrews 13:3 that we are to pray for those who are in prison as if we ourselves are in prison, and for those who are suffering as if we ourselves are suffering. And when we hear about the suffering of these people, the things that they're experiencing, the individual stories, it's clear how we'd be praying and how we'd be down on our knees truly before God on our face if it were us or our own families. So we need to be praying for those people in the same manner."

VBB has a 30-day prayer guide to help you pray.

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