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Myanmar: Rebels detain 92 Christian leaders, shut down churches

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No less than 92 Christian leaders have been detained by ethnic rebels of Myanmar. The Lahu Baptist Convention, released a statement heaping condemnation upon the military wing of the ruling party of the Wa state. It was stated that the dozens of churches have been shut down by the rebels.

Christians in Burma

At least 52 churches in the Mong Pauk Township were closed, while the rebels stripped off all Christian symbols off these churches. Three churches were completed demolished. The rebel group has detained 92 Christian leaders and 40 students in a territory under it’s control.

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Media reports that the convention fears that the rebel group plans not to release the detainees until 2019. Lahu Baptist Convention spokesperson, Rev. Dr. Lazarus told Radio Free Asia that the group “has also forcibly recruited 41 male and female students who were participating Bible study classes in various churches.”

He explained that the areas in the clutches of the rebel group are now cut off and it is no longer possible to travel to these areas. “We will hold a prayer ceremony on Oct. 7,” Lazarus explained. “We have about 400 followers, and we’ll pray for the quick release of our brethren who have been taken away.” It is feared that the group might force the detained students to serve as soldiers in its army.

The rebel group declared on-air that it arrested the Christian leaders for violating laws that say that foreigners must not serve as religious leaders. The group accused Christian leaders of forcibly converting people to Christianity.

Media quoted a local Christian leader based in Keng Tung that the “Wa officials instructed Christians in Mong Pauk not even to worship at home these days. So some Christian members dare not to live in Mong Pauk any longer,” he said adding that “They came to stay in Keng Tung town as they are fearful.”