(Yangon) – Satellite imagery shows that about 200 homes and other buildings were destroyed by fire on May 16, 2020, in Myanmar’sbte365官网官网 embattled Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said today. An impartial investigation is urgently needed to determine responsibility for this in the predominantly ethnic Rakhine village of Let Kar, Mrauk-U township.
Since January 2019, fighting between the Myanmar military and the ethnic Rakhine Arakan Army has resulted in numerous and . The imagery of Let Kar bears a close resemblance to patterns of fires and widespread arson attacks by the Myanmar military on ethnic Rohingya villages in Rakhine State in 2012, 2016, and 2017bte365官网官网, Human Rights Watch said.
“The burning of Let Kar village has all the hallmarks of Myanmar military arson on Rohingya villages in recent years,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “A credible and impartial investigation is urgently needed to find out what happened, punish those responsible, and provide compensation to villagers harmed.”
bte365官网官网Satellite imagery recorded on May 16, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. shows no signs of damage in Let Kar. But at 2:12 p.m., an environmental satellite detected extensive fires burning there. The Human Rights Watch damage analysis of 200 buildings burned is most likely an underestimate as internal damage to buildings is not visible.
The satellite imagery is consistent with witness accounts regarding the date and time of the fires and the number of buildings affected. Residents in the neighboring village of Bu Ywat Ma Nyo walk past their village to enter Let Kar around 2 p.m. on May 16 and leave around 5 p.m. The two villages are nearly one kilometer apart. After the soldiers entered Let Kar, Bu Ywat Ma Nyo residents reported hearing gunfire, saw flames and smoke, and observed two aerial drones, one flying above Let Kar and another flying over Bu Ywat Ma Nyo village.