Burma's Ethnic Christians Fear Bleak Future after Election
Summary: CHIANG MAI, Thailand, October 22 MPBS24/7 Report From CDN. With Burmaâ€™s first election in over 20 years just three weeks away, Christians in ethnic minority states fear that afterward the military regime will try to â€ścleanseâ€ť the areas of Christianity, sources said. The Burmese junta is showing restraint to woo voters in favor of its proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, but it is expected to launch a military offensive on insurgents in ethnic minority states after the Nov. 7 election, Burma watchers warned. When Burma Army personnel attack, they do not discriminate between insurgents and unarmed residents, said a representative of the pro-democracy Free Burma Rangers relief aid group in Chiang Mai, close to the Thai-Burma border. The military seems to be preparing its air force for an offensive, said Aung Zaw, editor of the Chiang Mai-based magazine Irrawaddy, which covers Burma. The FBR source said there are many unarmed Christian residents in zones where Burmese military personnel attack and kill anyone on sight. At least four years ago a secret memo circulated in Karen state, â€śProgram to Destroy the Christian Religion in Burma,â€ť that carried â€śpoint by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state,â€ť reported the British daily Telegraph in 2007. The junta perceives all Christians in ethnic minority states as insurgents, according to the FBR. Three months ago, Burma Armyâ€™s Light Infantry Battalions 370 and 361 attacked a Christian village in Karen state, the FBR source said. In Tha Dah Der village on July 23, army personnel burned all houses, one of the stateâ€™s biggest churches â€“ which was also a school â€“ and all livestock and cattle, reported FBR. More than 900 people fled to save their lives.