The U.S. State Department has put on record that it denounces the Burmese military junta's atrocities on civilians in Myanmar's Chin State.
The State Department issued a statement on October 31 expressing "grave concern" over claims of human rights abuses perpetrated by Burmese security forces in Chin State. This includes over 100 residences and Christian churches.
"We condemn such brutal actions by the Burmese regime against people, their homes, and places of worship, which lays bare the regime's complete disregard for the lives and welfare of the people of Burma," reads the statement.
"These abhorrent attacks underscore the urgent need for the international community to hold the Burmese military accountable and take action to prevent gross violations and abuses of human rights, including by preventing the transfer of arms to the military."
U.S. officials also voiced their worry regarding increased military actions in Burma, notably Chin State and Sagaing Region. Thus, they urge on the authorities to immediately stop the violence, free all those who have been unlawfully jailed, and restore Burma's democratic way.
"We will continue to promote accountability for the horrific violence that has been and continues to be perpetrated by the regime against the people of Burma. We will continue to support the people of Burma and all those working toward a restoration of Burma's democratic path and a peaceful resolution to the crisis," the statement added.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a whole town in Myanmar's Chin state has been burned to the ground on Oct. 14 by troops loyal to the country's military regime, including a Baptist church and 12 other properties.
The anti-junta Chin Defense Force militia, an armed organization created to battle Myanmar's military in the western state, reportedly ambushed a military convoy of roughly 40 vehicles and two tanks around three miles outside of Falam on a Wednesday afternoon.
Residents of Rialti village, some five kilometers from where the convoy was assaulted, said that the soldiers set up camp there and started setting houses on fire.
There were eight houses torched by the military at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, according to a religious leader from the Rialti Village Baptist Church, who spoke anonymously out of fear of retribution to RFA.
The religious leader said that two buildings-the church and its warehouse-were set ablaze early this morning, and the other three residences were attacked at nine o'clock.
"All were gone in a short while. The whole village, including the church, was set on fire. Eight houses were torched yesterday. In all, 13 buildings, including the church, were destroyed," he said.
Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, a spokesperson for the Junta, denied the next day that government forces were responsible for the fires in Rialti village, adding that the military "does not open fire on any religious building or in any village."
"It's not right to blame the military every time something happens during a battle-it's always an exchange of fire between the two sides," he said. "What we do know is that there was no fighting in that locality. Additionally, we are rebuilding religious buildings that were destroyed by fire or other reasons."
But according to Salai Za Op Lin, the Chin junta's conduct that Wednesday was their eighth time in the last eight months that they've destroyed a Christian church. Even though heavy weaponry have been used against churches in the past, this was the first time a church was deliberately set on fire by the military.
Kachin Baptist Association's Dr. Hkalam Samson said that attacks on churches were "unacceptable."
In the midst of strife, he remarked, "we could understand and accept this kind of thing if it was an accident. But there has been a lot of intentional destruction and we cannot accept such actions." he said.
Buddhist-majority Myanmar has a Christian population of around six percent.