UWSA releases 100 ethnic Wa Christians


Members of UWSA (United Wa State Army). Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) on Friday freed 100 ethnic Wa Christians it had detained, but continues to hold more than 100 ethnic Lahu Christians in a crackdown on religious freedom in mountainous territory it controls, RFA reported.

The UWSA, a 30,000-strong ethnic armed group comprising the military wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP), the de facto ruling party of the self-declared Wa state not officially recognized by the Myanmar government, began detaining Christian clergy members and shutting down dozens of their churches in September.

The UWSA questioned the clergy members about whether they were engaging in development work or persuading people to convert to Christianity, in a bid to ferret out “religious extremists” in Wa territory, including missionaries who have not obtained official permission and clergy members who operate outside the law.

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