Wednesday the 3rd of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Catholic church bombed as fighting intensifies in northern Myanmar

A Catholic church was bombed in the conflict-torn northern Shan state as renewed fighting intensified between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic groups, reported ucanews.com.

St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Mongkoe Township near the Chinese border was hit by airstrikes on 3rd December, the feast of St Francis Xavier. Ucanews.com reported that the parish priest, nuns and some 1,000 Catholics from the area had already fled to China. No-one was hurt by the morning raid that caused fires to burn well into the afternoon.

The Bishop of Lashio, Philip Lasap Za Hawng, said that, once he was able to get the facts, he planned to write “the authorities, the military commander and chief minister of Shan state.”

The ethnic Kachin bishop called on the government to negotiate with all the armed groups, ucanews.com reported.

“We need all the armed groups to participate in peace talks,” he said.

More than 60 Christian churches have been destroyed in neighbouring Kachin state since a long-standing cease-fire broke down in 2011, according to the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Picture: Displaced Rakhine people who fled fighting eat their meal inside a temporary shelter in late October in Sittwe, Myanmar. Fighting has intensified between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic groups. (CNS photo/Nyunt Win, EPA).