Burmese military reportedly shot dead a Baptist pastor in the Chin state of Myanmar on Sept. 18, two days after another Baptist minister was arrested at his home.
Pastor Cung Biak Hum was attempting to help a member of his church extinguish a fire after the man’s home was set ablaze during military attacks, according to an Asia Pacific Baptists social media post.
Tom Andrews, United Nations special rapporteur, tweeted: “The murder of a Baptist minister and bombing of homes in Thantlang, Chin State, are the latest examples of the living hell being delivered by junta forces against the people of Myanmar. The world needs to pay closer attention. More importantly, the world needs to act.”
Nineteen homes in Thantlang township were destroyed during the shelling, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a United Kingdom-based human rights organization focused on religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
“CSW extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Pastor Cung Biak Hum, who was killed as his community and many others like it continue to suffer violence and grave human rights violations at the hands of the Myanmar army,” said Benedict Rogers, CSW senior analyst on East Asia.
“We echo calls for increased international action and reiterate the urgent need for a global arms embargo on the country as a means of pressuring the military regime to end its horrific treatment of the people of Myanmar.”
The Chin Human Rights Organization posted on its Facebook page a formal statement from the Chin Baptist Convention strongly condemning the killing of the pastor and the indiscriminate shelling of homes.
Baptist pastor in Mandaly arrested
Asia Pacific Baptists noted the attack in Thantlang and killing of Cung Biak Hum took place two days after another minister, Thian Lian Sang of Falam Baptist Church in Mandalay, was arrested in front of his home “by armed men in plain clothes.”
“At the time of the arrest, three military vehicles and about 20 armed men on three motorcycles were involved,” the Facebook post stated.
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Five phones and money the family received for the funeral of the minister’s father were confiscated.
Asia Pacific Baptists called for the release of Thian Lian Sang, who was reported to be “politically neutral.” The cause of his arrest remained unknown.
After the military seized control of Myanmar in early February and declared a state of emergency, the Baptist World Alliance called on member bodies worldwide to “stand together with the global Baptist family in supporting the people of Myanmar” through prayer and advocacy.
BWA issued a statement Sept. 20 calling for “the immediate release” of Thian Lian Sang and for those involved in the killing of Cung Biak Hum to be held responsible. It also called for “the restoration of homes burned by the military.”
“With 1.7 million Baptists in Myanmar who have a continuous history of over 200 years in the country, the Myanmar Baptist family remains a key part of both Myanmar and the Baptist World Alliance family. While addressing these immediate injustices, we further call upon the military junta to do all that it can to restore religious freedom, human rights and peace through dialogue across Chin State and Myanmar as a whole,” the BWA statement read.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article initially was published at 2 p.m. on Sept. 20. It was updated two hours later to include the statement issued by the Baptist World Alliance.