There has been no news of Gam Seng and Dumdaw Nawng Lat for days now, the two Catholic who disappeared on Christmas Eve after helping some journalists to investigate the bombing of a Catholic church in Shan State, in early December .
These are two faithful of the community of
Saint Francis Xavier - hit during a Burmese army raid - in Mongkoe town,
not far from the border between Myanmar and China.
Local sources contacted by AsiaNews confirm the
disappearance, explaining that these are two "lay figures" related to
the local Church and active for some time "in the life of the
community", and not two "priests" as at first reported by some
"Family and friends - says the source - are
concerned and are doing everything they can to track them down.
However, there is no reliable information about their fate.
On December 3 last year a government army attack destroyed the St.
Francis Xavier church in Mung Koe, Shan State (northeastern Myanmar). In
the days following the attack Msgr. Philip Za Hawng, bishop of the
Diocese of Lashio, where the parish is located, confirmed the
destruction of the place of worship "with the exception of the bell
The parish priest, the nuns and the approximately one thousand
Catholics who formed the community had abandoned the area earlier,
finding refuge across the border in China.
The escalation of tension
between Burmese military and ethnic militias Shan had foreshadowed a
possible attack, and this is why Catholics had fled and no one was
injured in the bombing.
The two men were last seen on December 24, near an army base called
Byuha Gon [the strategic hill, ed] in Mongkoe. Previously the two
Catholics had met with three journalists for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), The Irrawaddy and Kumudra Journal, who were following an investigation into the demolition of the church.
Questioned on the matter, one of the reporters said that "Gam Sen
helped us with everything," regarding “the situation with the fighting"
and how the Burmese fighter jets "bombed the church and the city." He
confirmed that it was "rockets and projectiles launched by the army".
The two disappeared "after the publication of the photos" [of damaged
churches and schools] concludes the chronicler, and "I think this is
because they helped us and talked with us."
For several weeks the advance of the Tatmadaw in the north-eastern territories
The Naypyidaw troops are using air and land attacks to
target positions of ethnic militias, causing an unknown number of dead
and arresting civilians indiscriminately.
The Archbishop of Yangon, Card. Charles Bo, has repeatedly appealed to the whole country for peace.