In Myanmar, priest shot while celebrating Mass

priest shot

A priest who was shot while celebrating Mass in Myanmar’s Kachin state last Friday is seriously injured.

Church sources say two men opened fire on 40-year-old Father Paul Khwi Shane Aung during the early morning service.

“They were wearing black clothes and masks and entered the church on a motorcycle to shoot the priest three times” the sources say.

Just why the priest was shot is not yet known.

A church spokesperson says Aung has been moved from the local hospital to Myitkyina, the state capital.

Church leaders criticised

The attack that saw the Catholic priest shot is one of several violent incidents involving clergy, pastors and religious institutions in Myanmar.

The military is targeting them for supporting rebels after the toppling of Myanmar’s civilian government in February 2021.

Dr Hkalam Samson, a prominent Kachin Baptist Convention pastor, was arrested in December 2022 for his alleged links with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

The KIA is an ethnic rebel group.

Samson was sentenced to six years jail in April last year.

Last month, a 47-year-old pastor from the Kachin Baptist Convention was shot dead at his computer shop. His killers are still at large.

More conflict likely

An activist based in Kachin state says anti-social elements are fomenting religious and ethnic conflict.

The civil war in Myanmar’s military-rule regime has entered a critical phase the activist says.

He notes the past six weeks have seen the KIA’s seizure of several key military bases and outposts.

Lwalje, a key trade town near the Chinese border, is under the rebel group’s control.

“We need to be vigilant. The [shooting] incidents show warning signs” the activist says.

Kachin state’s 1.7 million people are mainly Christians. Around 116,000 are Catholics.


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