Burmese authorities have detained the owner of an orphanage in connection to a bombing that killed 10 people and injured 27 on Sunday.
The state-sponsored media has reported Dayaung Tangoon engaged in a grenade-bombing campaign, which included targeting his orphanage located in Kachin State, a Christian minority stronghold in northern Burma.
But residents in Kachin State claim the arrest and official news reports are more persecution aimed at Christians in Kachin State, which has been fighting the Burmese government for independence.
Residents allege Tangoon was traveling with Christian pastors when the bomb exploded in the orphanage, killing his grandchild, two sons, four orphans, and three refuges who had fled fighting in a neighboring town.
It is unclear who is responsible for the latest attack in Kachin State, which has seen an increase in violence and government restrictions in the wake of renewed fighting between Burmese troops and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).
Myanmar Ahlin, a government-backed daily newspaper, reports that Tangoon was responsible for previous bombing campaigns in Myitkyina in Kachin State.
Mizzima, a news organization run by Burmese journalists in Delhi, India, reports that Tangoon was traveling with Christian pastors at the time of the most recent bombing.
Tangoon's wife, who was injured in the blast, was not allowed to see visitors in the hospital, according to reports. The visitor blackout applied to the other 26 people injured in the blast, as well.
Tangoon is described as a leader in the community in northern Kachin State. He is a member of the Kachin Culture Organization, a mentor with the Myanmar Martial Arts Group and a marching band teacher.
The latest detention is in line with the Burmese government's campaign against residents in Kachin State, which has put thousands of civilians in the crosshairs of fighting between the national government and the KIO.
Recent targeting of Christians in Kachin State aims to end the rebel separatist movement, but has left wary residents under attack for their beliefs and put them in harm's way.
Burma – largely for religious intolerance and other abuses – shares a place on the U.S. State Department's Countries of Particular Concern list along with China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
More than 30,000 people in Kachin State have been displaced since fighting in the region renewed in June.
Christians have been forbidden to build new churches, had religious symbols – such as crosses – removed by the military and food and homes confiscated by officials, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
In October, the violence against Christians continued when Burmese military officials beat and arrested five men, including Pastor Jan Ma Aung Li of the Catholic Association. The men were later released.
Burmese officials – in a move to further stifle freedoms in the region – mandated that Christians in Kachin State submit a written request at least 15 days in advance to read the Bible, host Sunday school and pray.
It is unclear what effect the latest government actions will have on residents in the conflict-ridden region.