UWSA detains several Christian clergy members

18 September 2018
UWSA detains several Christian clergy members
This photo taken on June 26, 2017 shows members of the United Wa State Army jumping off from a car as they arrive in Poung Par Khem region, near the Thai and Myanmar border. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Myanmar’s largest non-state army is detaining several Christian clergy members for questioning and destroying churches in its self-proclaimed autonomous areas bordering China and Thailand in Shan state, according to a statement issued by the group, RFA has reported.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA), a 30,000-strong ethnic armed group comprising the military wing of the United Wa State Party (UWSP) has conducted these activities since Sept. 13, sources said.

According to the report, the USWA issued a six-point statement dated Sept. 6, which has been circulating on Facebook.

The statement says that all churches, missionaries, school teachers, and clergy members must be investigated and that a list of all churches in Wa-controlled areas must be drawn up.

Churches built after 1989 — except for one built in 1992 with the government’s permission — must be destroyed, and new ones cannot be built in a measure to prevent people from converting to Christianity, the report said.