By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
Christian charity Barnabas Fund said troops torched homes in the historic Christian village Chan Thar in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar, also known as Burma. “More than two-thirds of the estimated 500 homes in Chan Thar were destroyed on June 7, the second raid on the village in a month.”
On May 7, at least 20 homes were reportedly set on fire by Myanmar’s army, known as Tatmadaw, causing thousands of residents to flee. Barnabas Fund said Tuesday that it provided food and other humanitarian aid “for thousands of Christian families forced to flee Tatmadaw at attacks.”
In last week’s raid, the army “bombarded Chan Thar with artillery shells before soldiers went from house to house, setting them on fire,” recalled Barnabas Fund. “The villagers were seen crying as they witnessed their homes go up in smoke,” the group cited a local source as saying.
Chan Thar and the area’s Chaung Yeo and Monhia communities are known as Bayingyi villages, where locals descend from Christians who settled here in the 16th and 17th centuries.
On May 30, the army burned down almost all the 350 homes in Chaung Yeo, forcing hundreds of its Christian residents to flee, aid workers said.
The military, which seized power in Buddhist-majority Myanmar in February 2021, “has for many years persecuted the country’s Christian minority,” Barnabas Fund commented.
Yet, Christians still comprise 6.2 percent of Myanmar’s population of roughly 54 million people, according to aid workers.
Barnabas Fund, also operating as Barnabas Aid, urged its supporters to “Pray for our brothers and sisters forced to flee from their burning homes in Chan Thar, asking that they will find safe refuge.” And: “Ask the Lord, for whom nothing is impossible, to bring an end to the military attacks in Myanmar.”
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