2 Dec 2022
A glimpse into the minds of Myanmar military soldiers waging war on civilian communities
A video emerged online from November 2021 showing Myanmar military soldiers leading an attack on a village in Myanmar’s north.
Myanmar Witness has geolocated, chronolocated and verified the footage, adding English subtitles to make it more widely accessible.
The footage gives a rare, first-hand glimpse into the mindset of soldiers during a raid on a village. More than that, it reveals – through action and dialogue – the highly toxic culture of a specific Light Infantry Division, LID-101, which clearly allows and encourages the following forms of illegal behaviour:
the arbitrary detention at gunpoint of civilians
Figure 1: The person who films most of the footage appears in front of camera at one point saying, “It’s LID-101, let’s fight!”
Filmed by the perpetrators, the video shows military personnel leading an attack on Min Ywar village and repeatedly exhorting eachother to make LID-101 proud with their viciousness.
Figure 2: location of Min Ywar village.
After attacking and storming the village, the soldiers
Threaten to burn the village down
Start destroying the villagers’ motorbikes
Detain civilians at gunpoint, forcing them to kneel
The video (source), translated and analysed by Myanmar Witness, is one of the strongest pieces of evidence showing the repeated intention of Myanmar military units to cause widespread and indiscriminate harm within civilian communities.
While there has been no official admission of responsibility by Myanmar’s military for the widespread razing of villages since the coup in February 2021, this video provides clear evidence of the mindset and underlying culture that enables these acts.
Watch the full video below, (thirteen and a half minutes) or click any of the timestamp links (00:00) in this report to open the video at the moment being discussed.
Through open source analysis of the footage, Myanmar Witness established where and when this attack happened. This analysis is significant as it provides an insight into other similar attacks on communities in Myanmar, especially those attributed to the 101 LID (Light Infantry Division), which have been widely reported in the region.
The content of this report should be taken into consideration along with a large number of other claimed attacks and illegality allegedly linked to 101 LID in the region, as can be explored on our interactive map of LID-101 mentions, pictured below.
Figure 3: map of media and social media mentions of sightings, incidents and allegations relating to 101 LID.
Further analysis of the town also shows that it was subsequently used as a position for a mortar base in close proximity to cultural and civilian buildings, indicating a further potential breach of international humanitarian laws.
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