Burmese retaliatory airstrikes kill 21 civilians, displace 1,500 in Chin State

NAYPYIDAW, Burma — Airstrikes in March by Burmese army jets killed 21 civilians in the mostly Christian, ethnic Chin State of western Myanmar (Burma).

The March 14 attack on Meiksa Wa villages 2 and 3 in Paletwa Township of Chin State killed 12 people. The next day, additional airstrikes killed eight in Wetma village and one in Pyaing Tain village. Twenty-eight civilians were wounded in the two days of attacks, and 1,500 others fled.

A military spokesman said the army was returning fire from Arakan Army rebels believed to have been hiding in the villages.

According to Chin Human Rights Organization, the Chin people are targeted by both the military and the rebel fighters.

Christian leaders said the military and rebel fighters have frequently used Christian churches for cover and villagers as human shields. Sources say the Burmese army has persecuted Christians to impose Buddhism upon villagers.

Myanmar ranks No. 19 on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to live as a Christian. (Morning Star)