The Burma Army bombed a Roman Catholic Church in Mong Ko Town in northern Shan State where it is fighting with the Northern Alliance.
During fighting in Mong Ko, soldiers from the Burma Army took refuge inside the church and stored weapons there. When they lost the battle on 3 December they had to retreat from the town, after which they bombed the church where their weapons were still stored to stop them falling into the hands of the Northern Alliance.
A local resident said to KNG: “The Burma Army hid the weapons in the church because they thought nobody would dare to shoot at the church. When they knew that they could not win, they bombed the church. It probably happened on 3 December.”
After the Northern Alliance retreated from Mong Ko on 4 December Burmese soldiers took back control of the town and set fire to houses in Mong Ko wards: 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Local residents claim that over 100 houses have been destroyed.
The church bombed by the army was located in Ward 5.
Burma Army soldiers also set fire to all the paddy stocks of farms near to Monk Ko on 5 December.
Most of Mong Ko had already been destroyed when the army launched airstrikes that hit civilian homes, on 3 December and in the days prior to then.
Chinese, Kachin, Lisu, Palaung (Ta’ang), and Wa people live in Mong Ko.
Fighting broke out between the Burma Army and the Northern Alliance on 20 November and all the residents from Mong Ko have been sheltering in Man Hai in China.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI