There was outrage around the world as images emerged of the massacre of over 30 people, including women and children, by the military in east Myanmar, formerly called Burma, on Christmas Eve.
Photos of burned vehicles and charred bodies were shared by Save the Children, an international aid group, that added two of its workers were also missing.
The military overthrew the democratically elected government of Myanmar in February 2021 and since then the military junta, led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has been brutally trying to stamp out any resistance to its rule.
The Christian Post reports that the recent killings occurred as the Myanmar military was battling a pro-democracy militia near the village of Mo So.
The group, who were travelling in seven cars to a refugee camp, were fired upon and then stopped by the military.
According to a statement by Save the Children, “The military reportedly forced people from their cars, arrested some, killed others and burned their bodies.”
The report added that the military had tied members of the group together with rope before they were burned alive.
Since the overthrow of the government on Feb 1, 2021, the persecution of Christians in the Southeast Asia country has significantly increased.
Nearly 90% of the population is Buddhist, which is also Myanmar’s state religion, and the military seems to be targeting Christian groups which make up just over 6% of the population as part of its Buddhist nationalist agenda.
A report by International Christian Concern noted that the military has damaged and destroyed several Christian churches in its shelling of villages and towns throughout the country.
When the Myanmar military attacks villages, people often flee to the churches for protection.
Open Doors USA listed Myanmar as the 18th most dangerous country for Christians and listed persecution as “very high.” It also noted in its 2021 report that the military was specifically targeting churches and Christian leaders as part of its agenda to quell resistance to its rule.
READ: At least 35 civilians burned alive by Burmese army on Christmas Eve AND Myanmar Christians face increased persecution under military rule since coup, experts say