As Radio Free Asia reported on 15 February 2023, Pastor Hkalam Samson was arrested on 4 December 2022 and faces charges of incitement to terrorism. His trial commenced on 21 February. Meanwhile, according to a report by Myanmar Now published on 20 February 2023: “A new rule requires members of Christian congregations to report their names to junta-appointed local officials seven days before participating in worship services in Chin state”.
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller comments explains: “Dr Samson’s fate is just one example of how quickly the military regime deals with any opposition, perceived or real. Even a well-known pastor can easily become the target of persecution. At the same time, the regime has extended martial law to 37 townships in Sagaing, Magway, Bago and Tanithargyi and in Chin, Kayah, Karen and Mon states, and also extended the state of emergency by six months, raising fears in Chin and Karen states that these declarations will pave the way for new and increased attacks against the Christian population (UCA News, 9 February 2023). And if the Myanmar Now report is true about Christians in areas under martial law in Chin state having to report to township administrators a week in advance of attending Sunday services, this marks a new and very serious level of restricting Christian life in the country.”
Thomas Muller continues: “Apparently in an effort to make it appear as if the situation is improving - possibly also with an eye on the elections announced for August 2023 - the regime also announced the closing of 25 IDP camps in Kachin state (UCA News, 17 February 2023). However, this jeopardizes the lives of more than 11,000 people living in the camps, since most of them cannot return to their hometowns due to continued fighting.”