Reuters journalist Wa Lone is swamped by his fellow reporters after being released from prison alongside colleague Kyaw Seo Oo. As he left Yangon’s Insein jail, Wa Lone thanked everyone who had called for their release, adding: “I’m really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. And I can’t wait to go to my newsroom.” When asked if he could continue to be a journalist in Myanmar, he replied: “I am a journalist. I am going to continue.”
The two journalists were reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslims when they were arrested and sentenced to seven years in jail for breaking Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. They were freed when President Win Myint issued a pardon for 6,520 prisoners.
Around 9 a.m. local time – roughly the same time a suicide bomber killed 29 of their fellow parishioners at the evangelical Zion Church two weeks ago – worshippers streamed silently into the hall.
Survivors of the attack on Easter Sunday ambled in on crutches or with an eye patch. Some clutched bibles. Many wiped away their tears.
Inside, several hundred worshippers knelt on the tile floor with their arms lifted toward the heavens, beseeching Jesus Christ to grant salvation.
“Come to our protection in this world where we are being hit by waves,” their voices sang out in Tamil.
More than 250 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded in the attacks by Islamist militants on churches and hotels across the Indian Ocean island on April 21.