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Child severely injured in artillery strike

September 27th, 2022  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  3 minute read
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Myanmar Witness
Report Published: 27 Sept 2022

An indiscriminate attack killing a civilian (child) in M’dat Village, Mindat Township, Chin State.

[Warning Graphic]

According to local news media, on the morning of the 23 May 2022, while families were having breakfast, the military attacked M’dat (မဒပ်) village with artillery shells. A 10-year-old boy and his mother were seriously injured. The child was reportedly in a critical condition, and lost a limb. 

Figure 1: Comparison of clothing being worn by the child in two images

News sources claimed that the military base of the 274th Light Infantry Battalion in Mindat Town (မင်းတပ်), Mindat Township (မင်းတပ်မိနယ်) was responsible for firing heavy artillery shells at civilian areas that morning.

Figure 2: Military convoy stationed at the LIB 274 base uploaded on 15 May 2022.

Myanmar Witness collected and analysed open-source footage relating to the incident and made the following conclusions:

1. Myanmar Witness was not able to fully verify the footage of the injured child as being taken in M’dat village. However, possible locations in M’dat village and Mindat Township which are consistent with footage of where a heavily wounded child was taken for medical care were identified.

Figure 3: Map of the locations identified within this investigation.

2. There was no verifiable footage of the attack itself to verify how the child’s wounds were incurred, but Myanmar Witness was able to verify the location at which the child was allegedly hit, with what appears to be blood stains on the wall and floor outside of a structure claimed to be the child’s home.

Figure 4: (Left) the original photos; (right) Magenta-optimised photos to highlight blood stains close to and on the structure. Myanmar Witness geolocated these and other images to a location in M’dat.

3. Footage of ammunition reportedly found in M’dat village after the attack are consistent with locally produced 120mm mortar rounds known to be used by the Myanmar military.

Figure 5: Images provided to Myanmar Witness alleged to be the remnants of the ammunition fired towards M’dat village by the military.

Figure 6: Two images uploaded to social media alleged to be from the incident [highlighted in green] compared to reference images of 120mm mortar rounds.

4. Myanmar Witness verified the presence of a military base within firing range of the village and identified a mortar present at the base, although it was not possible to verify whether it was a model capable of firing these particular rounds.

Figure 7: Image of the military convoy in the LIB 274 military base with objects’ firing positions highlighted with two white circles.

Figure 8: Planet satellite imagery of the LIB 274 military base on 26 May 2022; it appears that the howitzer and mortar round were still in position post-incident. This image has been edited by Myanmar Witness to enhance the brightness, contrast and exposure. No further manipulation was conducted.

This incident is one of many monitored and analysed by Myanmar Witness, which documents alleged indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas since the coup. Attacks on villages like this are of particular concern as many villages do not have sufficient medical facilities.

To read the full report and gain an insight into the techniques used by OSINT investigators, download the full report.