A statue of Mary vandalised and several chapels desecrated in Myanmar
Religious buildings, including churches, have continued to be primary targets for the military junta in conflict-torn Myanmar, where Christians represent a minority.
The latest incident happened last week when junta soldiers destroyed a statue of Mary. According to church sources, troops encamped in a Catholic chapel and caused havoc in Tadaku village in southern Shan state, which is in the Pekhon diocese.
Soldiers regularly raid church institutions, including places of worship, under the pretext of looking for suspected rebels or hidden weapons and often resort to violence.
At least six parishes have been abandoned, while churches, including Sacred Heart Cathedral, have been attacked three times and damaged in the Pekhon diocese due to the ongoing conflict.
More than 5,000 people from the Pekhon diocese have been forced to flee from their homes since last year and remain in church premises in the nearby diocese of Taunggyi.
A church social worker said the situation in the Pekhon diocese remains tense as fighting is still raging in the region and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to return to their homes.