Updated: May 31, 2021 09:43 AM GMT
Broken windows and several holes in the walls caused by shelling are visible after St. Joseph's Church in Demoso came under attack from the military on May 26. (Photo supplied)
Catholic civilians in a formerly peaceful, remote region in eastern Myanmar have been dragged into conflict in the beleaguered country.
Violence reached the Catholic stronghold of Kayah state when fighting flared up between Myanmar’s military and the Karenni People’s Defense Force (PDF) on May 21.
More than 50,000 people from several townships fled their homes and took refuge at churches and nuns’ convents as others escaped into the jungle.
Many people had no time to pack their belongings and had to run with what they were wearing as the military used heavy weapons to crush the PDF.
For internally displaced persons (IDPs), churches and other religious buildings were deemed safe for them to escape from the fighting as white flags were raised on top of churches. Unfortunately, the military’s attacks did not spare even church buildings.