Statement of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation on the artillery attacks and burning of the Baptist church and homes of Baptist in Thantlang, Myanmar

The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (APBF) which is constituted by 65 member conventions in 22 nations across Asia Pacific with over 33,000 Churches, and part of the 47 million Baptist among the Baptist World Alliance spread in 126 nations worldwide with 241 member bodies expresses its condemnation over the recent artillery attacks, on the village of Thantlang on October 29 th 2021 by the Military Junta.

The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation is particularly concerned to hear about the destruction of houses and property including many houses of our Baptist families. We received reports that these houses have caught fire from the heavy shelling by the Military forces and been burnt to the ground. More than 270 homes, including the largest Baptist church in Thantlang were set on fire by the artillery attack perpetrated by the military Junta. The attacks on Thantlang that started last month has caused the entire village including families, elderly and children to evacuate. Baptist Pastor Rev. Cung Biak Hum was shot and killed on September 18 th when he attempted to help put out the fire of one of the houses that belonged to a member of his church. Such attacks on innocent civilians and their property is unfounded and has to stop!

The APBF unequivocally condemns the recent escalation of violence against unarmed civilian protestors and the airstrikes and arial bombing in this area recently. We as Baptists of Asia stand in solidarity with the Baptists of Myanmar and call upon the Global Baptist community to do so. We also call upon the international community to intervene to bring to a halt the deterioration of security in Myanmar and the sense of fear being instilled.

We call on all parties to prioritize the peace, safety and security of children and their families This is especially important at this time when lives are also at risk of COVID and this can spiral out of control. We call on the military leaders to desist from the destruction of religious places of worship and the senseless attack on religious leaders.

We call upon the Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief to stop these atrocities, release immediately the elected members of government under their custody and return Myanmar to a democratic rule and peaceful path.

Past decades of conflict and instability in Myanmar have only resulted in huge loss of life, lack of development and the undermining of people’s freedoms and rights. The return to such an era again is regrettable. We join in raising our voice in appeal and in prayer; praying for peace and reconciliation in Myanmar, for democracy to be upheld and restored and for the safety and protection of all citizens of Myanmar of all ethnicities from violence and brutality.