Myanmar Christians Flee to India

Hundreds of people from Myanmar’s Christian-stronghold Chin state have been forced to flee to neighbouring Mizoram state in India following more attacks on civilians by the military.

Newsroom (23/08/2022 9:15 PM Gaudium Press

At least 200 people crossed into Mizoram in the past few days after the military torched a village in Chin state and abducted five people, including two teenagers, on Aug. 14, according to Indian newspapers.

Local media reports said at least 15 houses were set ablaze in Haimual village, Tedim township in northern Chin state and two siblings, aged 17 and 15, were killed during the raid. Their bodies were found near Haimual later in the day.

Haimual village is located about 7 kilometres from Zokhawthar, a border village in Mizoram’s Champhai district, according to media reports.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that at least 41,000 refugees are currently in India’s northeast.

Mizoram shares a long border with Myanmar, where the military seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, toppling Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and putting several political leaders and activists behind bars.

Politicians, lawmakers, police and their families were among the refugees, mainly from Chin state, which borders the Champhai district of Mizoram.

Most people who fled to India share an ethnic affinity with the Mizo people in Mizoram and have family ties with people in the Christian-dominated state.

The impoverished region has been at the forefront of resistance to Myanmar’s military regime and has witnessed fierce retaliatory attacks, including aerial bombing, heavy artillery and indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

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Dozens of churches, including Catholic ones, have been set ablaze, vandalized and destroyed by junta soldiers, while priests and pastors have also been targeted.

Thousands of people from the Chin state have borne the brunt of the violent repression by the military junta, and they are facing difficulty gaining access to food following the junta’s harsh restrictions on humanitarian assistance.

The latest attack on the village and killing of civilians came just a day before the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer arrived in the conflict-torn nation.

She urged Myanmar’s military chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, to halt all violence, support a political path back to civilian rule and democracy and allow the deposed leader Suu Kyi to return home and meet with her.

Just a day after Heyzer ended her first visit on Aug. 18, junta troops burned hundreds of homes in villages in the central Magwe region, leading thousands of people to flee from their homes.

More than 2,200 people, including scores of children, have been killed, and the junta has detained over 15,000 people since the February 2021 coup.

– Raju Hasmukh

(Via UCA News)

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