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School bombed, 7,000 Christians displaced as violence worsens in Myanmar

by Tola Mbakwe

According to the Red Cross, a fresh wave of fighting in April has sent families from Kachin State running from their homes and travelling hundreds of miles to seek shelter in churches and camps.

"I fled with my family in the middle of the night. We travelled by foot for several hours and then took a bus to get here. I don't know how much longer we have to stay here," said 77-year-old Sharaw Naw Aung, who is staying at Trinity KBC Church in Myit Kyi Na, the capital city of Kachin state.

While brutal clashes targeted neighbourhoods in the area, a Christian school also fell victim to the chaos.

Religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said Myanmar military jetfighters bombed the Kachin Baptist Mission School on 12th May while the villagers were at work on their farms. A two-storey wooden building for the school was hit in the attack. There were no casualties.

Myanmar, which is mainly a Buddhist country, is made up of several ethnic groups fighting for independence. However, the country's offensive has escalated in Kachin areas in recent years.

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said the continued civil wars are extremely concerning.

"We urge the Burmese government and military to stop this offensive, and to begin a genuine political dialogue with the Kachin and other ethnic groups. We call on the international community to condemn the bombing of religious and educational centres, and to press the government of Burma to allow unhindered humanitarian access to all parts of Kachin and northern Shan States."

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