Video from Myanmar shared as Kuki militants ‘threatening to attack Imphal city’

By: Chandan Borgohain
March 4 2024

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Video from Myanmar shared as Kuki militants ‘threatening to attack Imphal city’

Screenshot of a social media post falsely attributing a video from Myanmar to the Manipur conflict. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

This December 2023 video features a Myanmar-based militant group warning the junta government. The audio in the clip was added in post-production.

Claim ID 14711e74

What is the claim?

A video clip showing a group of heavily armed men has surfaced online, purportedly showing Kuki militants in the violence-afflicted northeast Indian state of Manipur. Users sharing the clips claim that the video depicts Kuki militants threatening to attack the capital city of Manipur, Imphal, within a week. 

One user shared the video on X, stating: “Breaking News: #KukiMilitant issues warning of potential attacks on Imphal city within the next week. Authorities are urged to heighten security measures and ensure the safety of residents. Stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity. #AbrogateSoO #IndiaUnderAttack.” An archived version of this post can be accessed here

Screenshot of a social media post sharing the viral video. (Source: X/Screenshot)

The video, bearing the hashtag 'AbrogateSoO,' surfaced following the Manipur Assembly's unanimous decision on Thursday to petition the Indian government for the annulment of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with all Kuki-Zo militant groups in Manipur. Signed in August 2008, the SoO, also known as the peace pact, was a collaborative effort between the Indian government and the Manipur government with 25 armed Kuki groups. It has been extended annually since its inception.

However, the viral video is from Myanmar and is unrelated to the ongoing conflict in Manipur.

What did we find?

A reverse image search of one of the video's keyframes directed us to a post by The Irrawaddy— a news outlet focusing on Myanmar and Southeast Asia—dated December 23, 2023. The post, featuring the same video, revealed it depicts members of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, an armed resistance group formed in response to Myanmar's military coup. 

The post identified the individual speaking in the video as Marwi, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force. Marwi is quoted saying that the 'Junta troops and police in Karenni State have a choice: surrender or be annihilated.'

We consulted Salai Van Bawi Mang, a Chin ethnic researcher from Chin State in Myanmar, for insights into the video's audio. Confirming the video's origin and language, Salai Van stated: “I checked the video; the person, while warning the junta regime, says: 'You have two choices, either stand with the people or be destroyed. Choose the way you like; be prepared to be defeated.'”

Further investigation revealed that various Myanmar-based media outlets, including Myanmar Now, shared the same video on December 22, 2023. The English translation of the Burmese caption aligns with the information provided by The Irrawaddy and Mang.

Comparison between screenshots of the viral video and the Myanmar Now video. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Audio of viral video doctored 

A comparison of the viral clip with the original video indicated that the former contains altered audio. An Imphal-based journalist and Meitei language speaker, preferring to remain anonymous, said that the individual raising his index finger is heard speaking in Meitei, stating, "Chief Minister Biren Singh, take note, we will seize Kangla, the heart of Imphal city (Kangla), within two months." 

While we could not trace the origin of the audio in the viral clip, it is evident that it was added to misleadingly suggest that the video portrays a Kuki militant threatening an imminent attack on Imphal.

The verdict

The viral video shows a Myanmar-based military outfit issuing a warning against the junta government. The video has been shared with doctored audio to falsely link it with the Manipur conflict. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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