Video of drones dropping bombs in Myanmar falsely linked to Manipur clashes

By: Soham Shah
August 1 2023

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Video of drones dropping bombs in Myanmar falsely linked to Manipur clashes


The Verdict False

The footage is from Myanmar and does not show Kuki militants bombing Meitei villages in Manipur.

Claim ID 6dcbd216


The Indian state of Manipur continues to remain on boil after nearly three months after ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kukicommunities. As of July 29, the conflict has caused at least 181 deaths, the majority of whom reportedly belong to the Kuki community. 

Against this backdrop, several users have shared a video on Twitter with the claim that it shows Kuki militants dropping bombs on Meitei villages in Manipur. The video shows two men releasing bombs using drones before cutting to the drone camera footage of a bomb being dropped over some small buildings or housing structures. The video has the text ‘Chin Kuki’ overlaid on it.

One Twitter account shared the clip with the caption: “🚨LEAKED FOOTAGE REVEALS The #Kuki terrorists have started to use drones to bomb in numerous Meitei villages in #Manipur. Sources said that more than 40 bomb explosion has been reported in Bishnupur dist. #ManipurVideo #ManipurBurning #ManipurCrisis #ManipurVoilence #SaveManipur”. The tweet garnered over 14,700 views at the time of publishing. The video is also being shared on Facebook with a similar claim. An archive link of the post can be accessed here.

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

In fact

We ran the keyframes of the video through a reverse image search on Yandex and came across the same clip on a Telegram channel called ‘Z Fighter.’ The video was posted on the platform on June 2 with a message in Burmese that said the footage was of a bomb attack on a military group in the Sagaing province of Myanmar. This clip bore the ‘MFP Mandalay Free Press’ watermark on its top right corner.

We then came across the same clip on YouTube posted by the ‘Mandalay Free Press’ channel. It was shared on June 2 with the title, “A bomb attack on a military group that is doing violence around the village (translated from Burmese).” Mandalay Free Press(MFP) describes itself as a free and independent press reporting from the Mandalay and Sagaing regions of Myanmar.

According to the YouTube video description, translated by a Burmese speaker, on May 31, Myanmar military/Tatmadaw troops were raiding Watan village in Ayadaw Township of Monywa District, Sagaing Division. As the raid was on, Ayadaw Bone Naing (ABN) PDF, Monywa Battalion 19, and some other affiliated groups attacked the Myanmar military troops with drone bombs. Two Myanmar military personnel were reportedly killed in the attack in Watan, the text further said.

Mandalay Free Press had posted multiple other videos of similar drone attacks on its YouTube channel.

Bikash Bhattacharya, a researcher working on Myanmar, confirmed to Logically Facts that the language spoken by the people at the beginning of the video is Burmese—Myanmar’s official language. A native Burmese speaker in Myanmar also told us that the accent of the people in the video matches the one widely spoken in the Sagaing region.

Further, Logically Facts geolocated the area seen in the drone footage in the village of Wadan/Wa tan in the Sagaing region, confirming that the footage is from Myanmar and not Manipur. The name of the town matches the village mentioned in MFP’s video description, and the same blue, green, and red-roofed structures seen in the video in question can be spotted on Google Maps.

The verdict

We have marked the claim as false as the video is from the Sagaing region in Myanmar and does not show Kuki militants bombing Meitei villages in Manipur. It is unrelated to the current ethnic clashes in the northeastern state.

(With inputs from Sam Doak)

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