More than 170,000 people were forced to flee the city of Loikaw after Myanmar junta forces have launched a full-scale assault and bombardment.
Fighting in the Loikaw province between the junta and rebel forces has been raging since January 7 while airstrikes and artillery barrages have already damaged several buildings and residences.
The Christ the King Cathedral was among the damaged buildings and was struck by the junta despite being used as a shelter for hundreds of refugees.
“There are many internally displaced people in the cathedral complex. We will move to another place because it is impossible to stay here,” said Father Francis Soe Naing, chancellor of the Loikaw diocese.
Junta forces have also reportedly cut off power to the city since January 9, forcing more people to leave Loikaw.
According to residents, junta forces have also started looting the vacant homes and shops in the city and loaded their loot on military vehicles.
“They even used vehicles to carry the stolen items when they looted houses by the road. Junta soldiers went in front and people in civilian clothes followed them as they stole from the houses. How could they do that while people are in so much trouble?,” said one Loikaw resident.
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