At least seven churches have been damaged by artillery strikes amid ongoing military operations in several places in Myanmar, according to a report on Radio Veritas Asia over the weekend.
Six Catholic churches and a Baptist church were among those destroyed, said the report, adding that artillery strikes were reported in the Karenni region and in Shan State.
Government troops reportedly fired artillery “without specific targets,” hitting civilian homes, including churches and a cathedral in the town of Pekon.
The other churches that suffered damage due to the bombings are the Kayantharyar church and Queen of Peace church in Daw Ngan Kah, a Baptist church in Demoso, and a Catholic church in Phruso.
The report said artillery strikes also killed four civilians who sought refuge in the Kayantharyar church. Several people were also reported injured.
Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that detainees who have endured torture and other forms of abuse at the hands of Myanmar’s junta security forces claimed to have suffered from severe depression and mental illness long after their release.
Thousands of people have been arrested since the military seized power in a February 1 coup. Detainees who have been released told RFA’s Myanmar Service that the experience left them severely traumatized.
The former detainees, who are mostly young and were taken into custody after joining anti-junta protests, said they are haunted by their experiences in captivity and are no longer able to enjoy a normal life despite having been allowed to return home.
Nine months after the February 1 coup, security forces have killed 1,253 civilians and arrested at least 7,144, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Many of the deaths and arrests have occurred during crackdowns on anti-junta protests.