Sunday, June 28, 2009

Burmese Soldiers Target Children

Orphaned by a devastating cyclone in 2008, thousands of children in Burma are now engaged in a deadly game of hide and seek with Burmese soldiers.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, says, “The Karen people have suffered for decades at the hands of the Burmese military junta, who persecute them for their ethnicity and for their Christian faith. Please help us to take this opportunity to help Karen children in desperate situations at this time.” If you would like to make a gift for the relief of Burma’s orphaned Christian children, please click to donate online using the Barnabas Fund secure server (Please quote project reference 75-821).

Reports estimate that up to 3,000 Karen villagers have had to flee their mountain communities in recent weeks, due to renewed confrontations with the Burmese military. The army attacks the mountain villages, shooting the inhabitants as they run for their lives or capturing them and giving them extremely heavy labour, literally working them to death as ‘slaves’ and sometimes even using them as human land mine sweepers. They then set fire to the villages or plant landmines around the homes and the bodies to kill anyone who tries to return. Many of those who flee to the surrounding jungle die there from snake bites, disease or starvation.

The Karen tribe are mainly Christian and have faced extensive ethnic and religious discrimination from the military regime. Many cases have been reported of families being driven out of their homes and children losing their parents and wandering alone in the jungle. One report has spoken of 17 families hiding together in a bamboo thicket in a small ravine, and there are many more stories like this.

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