Few pictures of some armed men are being shared on social media with a claim that they show members of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) seizing a town in Myanmar. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is one of the most powerful ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar and is believed to have trained several batches of India’s Northeast militants during 1980s-90s.
The pictures are being circulated in the backdrop of the Myanmar military grabbing power in a coup on February 1, 2021, ahead of a scheduled meeting of the country’s newly elected Parliament
“ၿမိဳ့သိမ္းတယ္ဆိုတာ ဒါကိုေခၚတယ္ေနာ္ ကားမိုင္းၿမိဳ ့ကို KIA စစ္သားမ်ား ဝင္ေရာက္ေနရာယူေနၿပီ” the caption read.
(Translation: This is called saving town. KIA soldiers taking place in the city.)
NewsMobile fact-checked the above post and found the claim to be misleading.
We put both the pictures individually through Reverse Image Search and found that they are old.
On putting the first image through Reverse Image Search, we found the picture in an article by InvisiblePhotographer dated March 26, 2014. The picture was featured in a series called ‘Burma’s Hidden War’ by photojournalist Htoo Tay Zar.
The description of the picture read, “Soldiers of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) patrol around the town in the evening. Recent fight between Myanmar government and KIA at the Mansi area awakes Laiza to stay alert.”
We also found the picture on the photojournalist’s website uploaded in 2014.
On putting the second image through Reverse Image Search we found the picture in a report by a Myanmar based news organisation, Irrawaddy, dated December 15, 2019. The headline of the report read, “Burmese Army Mounts Multi-front Offensive Against KIA”.
The description of the picture read, “KIA troops leave Laiza for the front line (Photo: Jinghpaw Kasa Blog)”.
We found the same picture on a blog website that was uploaded on October 7, 2011.
While there are reports suggesting that Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has seized at least 10 of the army bases since fighting escalated with the Myanmar military following the February 1 coup, but the pictures being circulated are old.
The above information proves that the pictures are old. Hence, the claim is misleading.
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