On February 28, the military and police officials raided the Kachin Baptist Church (KBC) twice in Lashio, Shan State, Myanmar before arresting 14 Christians including seminary students and 4 ministers, the International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.
According to the congregation, a group of youth caught a police officer disguised in plainclothes, who had been spying on an anti-coup protestor, and investigated him inside the church's compound before setting him free, the ICC wrote.
The compound is large enough that people in the church did not notice what was going on, especially at that time where a theological training is being held.
As an act of retribution, the military and police forces, who are equipped in riot gear, raided the compound church at 1p.m. on that day. The raid caused the main gate of the church to be knocked down and some damages were even done inside the church before they arrested 13 Christians.
A reliable source close to KBC told Voice of America Burmese Service, "The police searched KBC compound. A lot of police cars came and there were shootings. It seems like they used rubber bullets. Can't say how many casualties there are."
At 5 p.m., the armed military and geared police forces returned to the Lashio church to search the compound while frightening the residents around. They went on to arrest another Christian, the KBC Church Secretary, according to the congregants nearby who reportedly saw what happened.
The people in the neighborhood also submitted a video, that was examined by ICC, which documents the moments of the raid.
It shows at least a dozen of geared police officers who went inside the church compound and caused damage.
Despite the fact that Christians at the church compound were not involved in, or even aware of, the incident that happened between the plainclothes and the group of youth, the authorities still continued in arresting a total of 14 Christians at the compound.
Among the arrested people are Dr. L Zau Ring, the church secretary, Maw She, Zau Doi Aung, Seng Ra Awng, and K.D Naw Mai, the ministers, Lagang Dau Gyung, HangKum Hkawng Gyung, and Gum Sut Nan, the seminary students, and youths Hawng Hkawng, Peter, Zau Ja Hpraw, Ah Sut, Hkaw Ying, and Dan Seng Awng.
There is no information as to where these detainees are because the police station in the Lashio area did not provide any information. The police officers said that these forces are not people stationed in Lashio.
Gina Goh, ICC's Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, "As the military junta cracks down on peaceful protests all over Myanmar, it is worrisome that 14 Christians from KBC Lashio have been arrested without due process."
"The Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) has been hostile towards ethnic Kachin, who are predominantly Christian. What might happen to them is very concerning. ICC calls for their release and urges the global Church to pay attention to this case and the ongoing anti-coup movement, as more innocent lives are lost each day," Goh said.