Attacks on Christians in Burma continue in Kachin state as Burmese Army troops killed a civilian, and destroyed church property despite President Thein Sein’s order to stop the war against insurgents. A Baptist church in Loije, Bhamo district, held a funeral for 47 year-old Maran Zau Ja, who was shot dead without provocation by the Burmese Army’s Light Infantry Battalion. Zau Ja was a farmer who was returning from his sugarcane field with a friend when troops sprayed bullets at them. His friend survived the gunshots. The two were not armed insurgents of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) that has fought for autonomy in the Christian-majority state since the early 1960s, when then-Burmese Prime Minister U Nu made Buddhism the official state religion. About 90 percent of the roughly 56 million people living in Burma, also known as Myanmar, are Buddhist, mostly from the Burman ethnic group. Burmese soldiers see, “all Kachin civilians as the enemy,” the Kachin News Group recently quoted a Kachin village elder as saying.
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