Masked gunmen shoot Myanmar Christian leader during church service

The priest was seriously injured, according to eyewitnesses.
By RFA Burmese
Masked gunmen shoot Myanmar Christian leader during church service St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kachin state’s Mohnyin township on Feb. 27, 2023.
Myanmar military

Two masked gunmen shot a Catholic priest in northern Myanmar on Friday morning, eyewitnesses told Radio Free Asia.

The men entered St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kachin state’s Mohnyin township, interrupting a sermon and shooting the parish priest three times in front of his congregation, residents said. 

Paul Hkwi Shane Aung was hit in his jaw, hand and thigh, according to one man in the congregation, adding that he survived the attack, but is seriously injured. 

"He was shot while preaching after reading the Bible,” he said, declining to be identified for fear of reprisals. 

“They wore black caps and masks. They fired once while entering through the church door, and then again when they reached the center of the church. Then they approached him and fired a third time.”

The unidentified gunmen escaped after the shooting, said the local. The priest was taken to Kachin state’s capital city Myitkyina for emergency treatment. 

Since Myanmar’s military coup in 2021, Christian clergymen in the predominantly Buddhist country have been a frequent target of anonymous gunmen and junta troops. On March 18, Nammye Hkun Jaw Li, a religious leader in Kachin state’s Mogaung township was assassinated by unknown attackers. The community leader had been active in anti-military protests.

In December 2022 the junta arrested prominent Christian leader Hkalam Samson for his close ties to the Kachin Independence Army. He was sentenced to six years in prison on April 7, 2023.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn. 


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