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Myanmar’s Southern Flames

July 26th, 2023  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  2 minute read
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Houses razed in Palaw township, Tanintharyi region

Key Event Details 

Location of Incident: Three villages in Palaw Township (ပုလောမြို့နယ်), Tanintharyi Region (တနင်္သာရီ တိုင်းဒေသကြီး).

  • To (တို) village [12.865942, 98.660944]
  • Tan Shin (တန်းရှင်း) village [12.873319, 98.668229]
  • Thin Gan Taw (သင်္ကန်းတော) village [12.877906, 98.671760]

Date/Time of incident: 

  • 30 December 2022

Alleged Perpetrator(s) and/or Involvement: 

  • Myanmar Military

Conclusions by Myanmar Witness

  • Myanmar Witness documented 32 fire incidents in the Tanintharyi region during 2022.
  • On 30 December 2022, the villages of To village, Tan Shin village and Thin Gan Taw village in Palaw township experienced fires and over 60 houses were reportedly set alight by the Myanmar military.
  • Myanmar Witness verified the fires by geolocating and chronolocating user-generated content (UGC) showing the damage.
  • Myanmar Witness has verified that at least 48 houses were set on fire in the villages of To, Tan Shin and Thin Gan Taw.
  • Information gathered by Myanmar Witness suggests that Myanmar military are likely to be responsible for the fires.

Summary

Myanmar Witness’ ongoing fire monitoring recorded at least 32 cases of fires in Tanintharyi region (တနင်္သာရီ တိုင်းဒေသကြီး) during 2022. This report focuses on fires that happened on 30 December 2022, during which more than 60 houses were set on fire in three villages of Palaw township (ပုလောမြို့နယ်) in Tanintharyi region. Myanmar Witness verified that the fires occurred in To (တို), Tan Shin (တန်းရှင်း), and Thin Gan Taw (သင်္ကန်းတော) villages. Myanmar Witness concluded that the most likely perpetrator is the Myanmar military.

Background and Context 

The military seized power and detained the officially elected government on 1 February 2021. Since then, the Myanmar military has repeatedly committed human rights violations such as arbitrary arrests and torture, setting entire villages alight, and mass killings across the country. In this report, Myanmar Witness investigates the three incidents that reportedly damaged or destroyed more than 60 houses in three villages during the last week of December 2022.

Prior to this event, Myanmar Witness’ monitoring reveals that at least 29 other fire incidents occurred in Tanintharyi during 2022. As previous reporting indicates, civilian homes are overwhelmingly impacted during these events. Homes were destroyed during at least three separate fire incidents in the first three months of 2022, 20 incidents in April, May, June and July, two incidents in September and October, and four incidents in November.

According to Dawei Watch, approximately 48, 7, and 14 houses were destroyed by the fire in To, Tan Shin, and Thin Gan Taw villages respectively in the last week of December. Through an in-depth investigation, Myanmar Witness has confirmed that at least 47 houses were damaged or destroyed by the fires.


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