A Baptist group in western Myanmar’s Chin state has condemned the killing of a local pastor by government troops during a clash between Myanmar’s military and local defense forces over the weekend.
Pastor Cung Biak Hum, 31, was shot and killed when he and several others ran to put out fires set by government soldiers during an attack on their position in Chin state’s Thantlang town, said a report from Radio Free Asia.
“The pastor and four or five young people came to the scene on their motorbikes to help, and when the soldiers fired on them, he was shot and died on the spot,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“Because of the constant gunfire and shelling by artillery, no one could retrieve his body, but when volunteers later cleaned his body at his mother’s home it was found that his ring finger had been cut off and his wedding ring stolen,” he said.
Cung Biak Hum, pastor of the Thantlan Century Baptist Church, is survived by two sons and his pregnant wife, sources said.
Lod Harlinrel, secretary of the Chin Baptist Convention, condemned the military action, calling it barbaric and unacceptable.
“When firing their guns, the military should carefully distinguish between their enemies and civilians. They should not just randomly fire their weapons,” he said.
“Besides that, the military’s reckless and barbaric actions we have seen in the towns and urban areas should all have been avoided.”
“If they continue this way, this fighting could grow into a larger ethno-religious conflict. That’s why we condemn these actions strongly,” he said.
The Baptist Convention in Chin has earlier condemned the killing and the deployment of troops in Christian churches, the destruction of Bibles and other religious texts, and the firing of artillery at church buildings.
“As the servants of God, we have to stand with the people. This could lead to opposition to our rulers, but we will stand with justice, no matter what,” said Hkalam Samson, president of the Kachin Baptist Convention in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state. – from a Radio Free Asia report