WelCom February 2024
The military junta in Myanmar has occupied the Loikaw cathedral complex and plans to use the building as a shield in its war against resistance forces, says the local bishop who was forced to flee the complex.
The junta, in its attempts to control the strategically important Loikaw city, the capital of Kayah state, has taken over the Christ the King’s Cathedral complex. The complex houses the bishop’s residence, pastoral centre, clergy house and a clinic.
The takeover forced Bishop Celso Ba Shwe of Loikaw and resident priests and religious to flee. At the time, the complex had 82 people, including 10 priests, 16 religious and some employees, Bishop Shwe said in a letter.
Some 50 soldiers occupied the cathedral complex ‘to make use of it as a shield’ against the resistance forces, said the letter that the bishop wrote before fleeing.
The junta assumes the resistance force will not advance if they have to harm a religious place such as a cathedral or a church, according to a source. There is a significant Christian population in the state and the Karenni resistance force, which opposes the junta, is believed to have Christians among its members.
Kayah, Myanmar’s smallest state, has some 300,000 people, some 45 per cent of them Christians. Catholics number about 91,000.
Source: UCA News