By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
YANGON, MYANMAR (Worthy News) – Myanmar’s prominent Catholic official has warned that Myanmar’s ruling military step up the persecution of critics and others after former democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to another six years in prison.
In comments monitored by Worthy News, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said, “They [the military] are trying to intimidate the whole population.”
He stressed that the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, is determined to gain undisputed control by year-end amid ongoing protests against its rule. “By the end of the year, they presume everything will be quiet again, and they will not have any resistance anymore. [That’s] because of the atrocities and intimidation the military is carrying out,” he added.
The junta has killed more than 2,100 people, including many children, and has detained some 15,000 others, according to church sources and human rights monitors.
“The current situation is very complex and at the same time very confusing and very unpredictable,” Cardinal Bo explained in published remarks. “Villages are being wiped out and burned,” he explained.
Thousands of people belonging to mainly Christian ethnic groups have been targeted and forced to flee as they face death and destruction, Worthy News documented earlier.
“Fifty percent of our people are in poverty, and at least 8 million of them are in dire need of food security, and there are millions displaced,” the cardinal noted. Pope Francis, who visited Myanmar in November 2017, also expressed concern about the situation.
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
A recent United Nations report accused the military junta of committing crimes against humanity.
The Catholic Church leader made the comments amid mounting local and international concerns about the plight of detained Suu Kyi. She was given an additional six-year prison sentence this week after being convicted of corruption charges in a closed-door, military-controlled court, trial sources said.
She was sentenced to 11 years in a previous trial on multiple charges.
Suu Kyi had led the democratically-elected government, which was ousted when Myanmar’s military junta seized power in February last year and imposed a state of emergency.
Since the coup, Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest and imprisoned.
As the situation deteriorates in the Southeast Asian nation, a U.N. special envoy was set to visit Myanmar. Still, so far the United Nations has been unable to improve the plight of the population.
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