Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow said he received a call at about 4 am PT that the Chopaka church was on fire….reports Asian Lite News
Days after two Catholic churches were destroyed by fire in the British Columbia province of Canada, two more Catholic churches were burned down in the province’s Interior on Saturday morning.
Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow said he received a call at about 4 am PT that the Chopaka church was on fire. By the time he arrived about 30 minutes later, it had burned to the ground, reported CBC News.
“I am angry. I do not see any positive coming from this and it igoing to be tough,” said Crow.
Crow further said that he later received a call from the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, near Hedley, that a church on that reserve had burned down as well.
The Upper Similkameen Indian Band confirmed that St Ann’s Church was destroyed overnight and a representative for the band said officials are currently working with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the site of the fire.
In a written statement, RCMP said both fires started within an hour of each other early Saturday morning. They said the Chopaka church fire had spread to nearby brush, but BC Wildfire crews were able to attend to it before it spread.
Meanwhile, Crow said that the fire in his community is still under investigation, adding that the fact it came on the heels of overnight fires that destroyed two other churches in the Okanagan earlier this week is suspicious.
“There’s got to be something more to it,” he said. “It’s not just coincidence.”
RCMP said they’re treating Saturday’s fires as suspicious, and investigating any possible links to the Okanagan church fires, reported CBC News.
The RCMP on Monday said that the Sacred Heart church on Penticton Indian Band lands and St. Gregory’s church on Osoyoos Indian Band lands burned to the ground and police were treating the fires as suspicious.
The incident comes days after 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school for indigenous children in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, the second such discovery here in less than a month as the country confronts one of the darkest chapters in its history.
The discovery came less than a month after the mass burial place of 215 children, some as young as three years old, was found at the site of a school, closed in 1978, near the Canadian town of Kamloops.
Following the discovery of graves, a probe has been opened into the circumstances and the accountability of these fatalities.
Under the Canadian schooling system for indigenous children during the 19th century, at least 150,000 students were forcibly separated from their families and incarcerated in residential schools. It is estimated that up to 6,000 children could have died in such schools. (ANI)
ALSO READ: US welcomes Baghdad summit