Myanmar: Unknown Gunmen Shoot Priest During Mass

Source: FSSPX News

Fr. Paul Khwi Shane Aung

Two masked individuals opened fire on Fr. Paul Khwi Shane Aung, parish priest of St. Patrick’s Church in the village of Mohnyin, in Kachin State, on Friday, April 12, around 6:30am. The 40-year-old priest was offering Mass in his parish when the shots broke out.

Five bullets were fired at the priest, who was seriously injured. The priest “was rushed to a hospital in Mohnyin and was later moved to a hospital in Myitkyina,” according to UCANews. He is currently hospitalized after undergoing surgery. No motive has yet been communicated concerning this attack and the assailants are still on the run.

The attack occurred in a context of conflict between the military junta and the resistance forces particularly active in this State of Myanmar (Burma).

Myanmar is currently facing recent actions by the ethnic rebel group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has seized several key military bases and important sites since it started launching offensive strikes in March.

As UCANews reports, “An activist based in Kachin state said anti-social elements are fomenting religious and ethnic conflict as the civil war in the military-ruled nation has entered a critical phase.”

Many members of the clergy, pastors, and relgious insitutions, are targeted by the army because they support--or are believed to support--the rebels. On March 18, in Mogaung township, Nammye Hkun Jaw Li, a Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) pastor, was also shot.

Ethnic and Cultural Cleansing

In February, the humanitarian organization Christian Solidarity International warned of an increase in violence against the persecuted Christian minority in Myanmar, one of its activists warning that the Christians in this minority “are subject to cruel campaigns of ethnic cleansing.”

Since the military coup d’état that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, Myanmar has been gripped by violent conflict. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, President of the Myanmar Bishops’ Conference, urged the Catholics of Myanmar to share God’s mercy in the suffering caused by this situation.

In 2021, the prelate already noted that Myitkyina had been victim of a “great tragedy” consisting in “killing innocents in the streets.” He had added: “We need the light of God’s mercy in Myanmar.”