Masked Gunmen Shoot Catholic Priest During Church Service in Myanmar

On Friday morning, two masked gunmen entered St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Monyingyin town, Myanmar, during a church service and fired a volley of shots at the parish priest, Father Paul Kwi Shane Aung. Aoun was attacked three times but survived.

Witnesses said the priest had just finished reading a Bible verse when gunmen burst in and opened fire.

“They were wearing black hats and masks. They fired once as they entered through the church doors and once again when they reached the center of the church. Then they approached him and fired a third time.” said the witness.

Another witness said the attackers arrived on motorbikes and fled using the same method. As of Friday afternoon, the gunmen remained at large.

Father Aoun, 40, was shot in the jaw, hand and thigh. He was evacuated to a hospital in Mokhnin for emergency treatment and then transferred to a hospital in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state.

Kachin State activist Said “Anti-social elements are stirring up religious and ethnic tensions as the country’s civil war under military rule enters a critical stage,” the Catholic Asia News Union (UCA News) reported on Friday.

primary conflict The area is contested between the ruling military junta and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a paramilitary alliance made up of six local tribes.

KIA is the most effective and veteran group resisting Myanmar’s military regime. captured Dozens of military outposts and two major military bases have been built since October last year when it launched a major offensive with several allied ethnic militias.

The junta’s panicked response also included some shells crossing the border into China. strong opposition From the Beijing regime.

The junta also appears to be taking its anger out on churches and pastors. composed Many of the rebellious tribes are inhabited by Christians, but some are Burmese who practice Buddhism. Approximately one-third of Kachin State’s population is Christian.

Myanmar has suffered several military coups since independence in 1948, and each military regime has tended to scapegoat Catholics as disloyal.

Other Christians are similarly persecuted. On March 18th, a Baptist pastor named Nanmy Fukun Joe Lee, shot under He was killed by unknown assailants while working at a computer shop he owned in Kachin State. Lee was an outspoken critic of the military government and an organizer of protests.

“They shot him twice in the stomach, and he didn’t die, but they also shot him in the head,” said a source close to Lee’s family.