By BosNewsLife Asia Service
YANGON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)-- Two young women have been raped and killed in Burma because of their Christian work in a Buddhist village, Christian activists said in comments monitored by BosNewsLife Saturday, February 21.
The women, who were serving as volunteer schoolteachers in a village located within Kachin State, had earlier been threatened after evangelism activities, Christians said. Local officials reportedly told them to leave the area because they did not want Christians in the village after they were heard speaking about their faith in Christ.
"Shortly thereafter, the young women were reportedly raped and killed by soldiers" on January 19, said advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs.
Their names were not immediately released. In general BosNewsLife does not publish names of victims of sexual abuse unless already in the public domain or if they decide to come forward.
Despite recent reforms in predominantly-Buddhist Burma, also known as Myanmar, Christians face "increased persecution," according to activists familiar with the situation.
"New believers routinely lose their employment and homes, and many women across the country are at risk of being raped and murdered by members of the military," added VOM, which has close contacts in the region.
It urged supporters to pray for the spread of the Gospel and that the "faithful testimony and witness of these dedicated women will continue to impact the members of this village community, even long after their deaths."
VOM also asked to pray for students "they sacrificially taught" who could be "comforted in the knowledge that these young women are now experiencing life to the fullest with Jesus in heaven."
It was crucial, VOM said, to "intercede for the soldiers who perpetrated this heartless crime, that they will be moved by the Holy Spirit to seek repentance and salvation".
Burmese authorities did not comment.
The reported incident has underscored remaining tensions with the military despite President Thein Sein pledging reforms. He was sworn into office in March 2011, officially launching a nominally civilian government to replace almost 50 years of military rule.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed from house arrest soon after the 2010 election, has been allowed to resume her political activities.
However she complains that the government has blocked her from standing in 2015 presidential elections because her children are half-British.
Representatives of Burma's Christians are believed to be willing to work with her.