Aid group condemns torching of Baptist church, entire village in Myanmar as ‘War Crime’

Troops loyal to Myanmar’s junta have torched an entire village—including a Baptist church and a dozen other buildings—in the country’s embattled Chin state, residents said Thursday, prompting condemnation from a local human rights group which called the act a “war crime” under international law.

The burnings took place on Wednesday afternoon, after a military convoy of around 40 vehicles and two tanks headed from Falam township to the Chin state capital Hakha was attacked about three miles outside of Falam by the anti-junta Chin Defense Force militia, an armed group formed to combat Myanmar’s military in the western state, sources told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Following the clash, the military set up camp in Rialti village—some five miles further along the road to Hakha from the site where the convoy was attacked—and began setting buildings alight, residents said.

A religious leader from the Rialti Village Baptist Church, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal, said that the military initially burned eight homes around 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, before continuing to set buildings on fire Thursday morning.

“This morning, it was the church and our warehouse—those two were set on fire earlier this morning and at about 9:00 a.m., the remaining three houses,” he said.

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Source: Radio Free Asia