Nearly 100 religious buildings, mostly churches, were destroyed or damaged in Myanmar junta attacks in Chin State since the 2021 coup, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
So far an estimated 200 religious buildings, including churches and Buddhist monasteries, have been destroyed in junta bombardments and arson attacks across the country since the coup.
Chin State has suffered the most with 95 religious buildings destroyed by last week, according to the rights group.
Five Chin hospitals and clinics and four schools have also been destroyed by the junta since the coup, it said.
Salai Mang Hre Lian, CHRO‘s program manager, told the Khonuthung, a Chin media group, that the junta intentionally targeted churches where displaced people were sheltering.
On August 12, junta fighter jets bombarded Ramthlo village on the Falam-Hakha highway, about 35km south of Falam town, destroying houses and a church.
Those attacks were in retaliation for a resistance raid on the Light Infantry Battalion 268 headquarters in Falam town on August 12, inflicting many junta casualties and seizing an arsenal of weapons.
Junta aircraft bombed Khuafo village in Thantlang Township on August 14, destroying three houses and a church shortly after Chin resistance groups seized a junta base in Thantlang town.
On March 30, junta warplanes bombed Khuafo village, killing at least 10 residents, including children.
“Churches, other religious buildings, hospitals and schools are the main places for community gatherings, which are protected under the Geneva Convention and international law. The junta attacks are war crimes,” the CHRO said.
Another rights group, the Progressive Karenni People’s Force, said on September 1 that 42 religious buildings had been destroyed by the junta in Kayah State since the coup.
Junta troops torched the 129-year-old Assumption Church along with houses during a raid on Chan Thar village in Ye U Township, Sagaing Region, on January 15.
By July 31, approximately 74,874 homes had been burned by the junta and its allies across the country since the coup, said Data for Myanmar, an independence research group that monitors junta arson attacks.