Retaliatory attack in Sin Inn Gyi
7 Dec 2022
Village attacked after SAC food convoy hits landmine
Key Event Details
The attack is claimed to have occurred on 10 November 2022 in Sin Inn Gyi Village (ဆင်အင်းကြီး) [20.323304, 92.957982], Ponnagyun Township, Rakhine State.
State Administrative Council (SAC) food trucks were allegedly hit by landmines set up by the Arakan Army (AA). This was the claimed rationale for the attack.
Between 8-10 adult casualties were reported and 7-10 homes set on fire during the raid.
Social media analysis led to the identification of seven separate bodies, including an elderly woman and six men. The bodies were found the following day on 11 November 2022.
Social media users claimed that all casualties showed signs of either knife or bullet wounds on their bodies. Other reports state villagers were fired upon as they fled the attack.
Local villagers believe this SAC attack occurred in retaliation for AA landmines impacting SAC troops nearby that same morning. The United League of Arakan (ULA) placed blame on the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 550, part of the SAC military, stating they would retaliate for this attack.
Between 10-16 November 2022, nine village administrators allegedly resigned because they could not provide security in Ponnagyun township, due to the military tension in the area.
On 10 November 2022, State Administrative Council (SAC) military vehicles were reportedly impacted (source redacted for privacy reasons) by Arakan Army (AA) landmines near Sin Inn Gyi village (ဆင်အင်းကြီး) Ponnagyun township, Rakhine state, while delivering food to their troops, allegedly killing an unknown number of SAC soldiers.
Later that same day, reports indicate that Sin Inn Gyi village was shot at from a distance, set on fire (source redacted for privacy reasons) and several villagers were allegedly killed by SAC troops during a raid, calling it a retaliation attack. More claims from Myanmar Now state there were further potential drone and shelling attacks that resulted in additional casualties (two deaths and five injured), but this is yet to be confirmed.
The casualties, between 8 and 10 villagers, reportedly had knife and gunshot wounds to their bodies, with 7 to 10 homes burned. The bodies were claimed to have been found the next day on 11 November 2022. The SAC troops were noted as being from LIB 550, with potential involvement possible from LIB 344 (stationed in Sittwe). Reports claiming they fired from a base in Ponnagyun Town, right after the landmine impacted the SAC food truck.
The AA stated they had utilised landmines due to the SAC’s imposed restrictions on land and waterway travel in northern Rakhine state, causing harm to local communities. As of yet, the SAC has not responded to this claimed attack on Sin Inn Gyi village.
The occurrence of both of these events on the same day supports the view that they are linked, with SAC retaliation against Sin Inn Gyi village being a likely assertion following the landmine impact. However, it is noted that there are no verified reports or footage to show that the AA were stationed in Sin Inn Gyi village or that the villagers killed were connected to the AA targeted attack nearby, calling into question the reasoning for the attack against Sin Inn Gyi village occurring.
On 11 November 2022, the The United League of Arakan (ULA) - the political wing of the AA, released a statement declaring the SAC’s LIB 550 responsible for the attack on Sin Inn Gyi Village. Further, a 16 November 2022 BBC report stated that nine village administrators allegedly resigned due to the military clashes in Ponnagyun township, just days after this attack in Sin Inn Gyi village.
Myanmar Witness has been able to verify:
Multiple pieces of user-generated content (UGC) were utilised to verify the occurrence of conflict events within and around Sin Inn Gyi village. Key features within the conflict include: a river, radio tower and background mountainscape, shown in figures 1 and 2.
Figure 1: Geolocation of the alleged fire and attack on Sin Inn Gyi (ဆင်အင်းကြီး) villagers. (Source: Western News Agency).
Figure 2: The top image is of satellite imagery showing geographical landmarks, such as the nearby mountain range matching up with UGC shared online showing smoke from an alleged SIn Inn Gyi village fire in the distance. (Source of bottom image: Western News Agency).
As a second reference, and to verify the date of the event, Sentinel Hub imagery was relied upon through a comparison of dates between 9 and 14 November 2022. The image on the left, being from 14 November 2022, shows the southeast of the village to be darker than that on the right (09 November 2022). Although there are multiple explanations for why this may occur, including the loss of vegetation, it is almost certain a fire event has caused these visual differences.
Figure 3: The left image shows Sentinel Hub satellite imagery from Sin Inn Gyi village on 14 November 2022, illustrating darker parts of the village in specific areas compared to the village on 9 November 2022 shown on the right. (Sentinel Hub).
Figure 4: Geolocation showing the location of one of the destroyed homes in Sin Inn Gyi village, [20.323653, 92.957873]. (Source of top right image: Arakan Bay News, source of bottom right image: source redacted for privacy reasons).
Utilising Sentinel Hub imagery, the processes of geo and chrono location were able to be conducted. This allowed Myanmar Witness to verify the village of Sin Inn Gyi as an attack location within a small time frame for the date between 9-14 November 2022, fitting into the claims of 10 November being the attack day.
The investigation walkthrough
Figure 5: Map of Sin Inn Gyi Village (ဆင်အင်းကြီး), Ponnagyun Township, Rakhine State. (Map created using Datawrapper).
The ULA have claimed (source redacted for privacy reasons) that shelling and drone attacks from two separate locations occurred around Sin Inn Gyi village on 11 November 2022, shown in figure 6. These locations are allegedly occupied by LIB334 and LIB550.
Figure 6: User generated map view of the ULA’s claim of SAC troops firing into the village from two separate locations around the time of the raid in Sin Inn Gyi village, Ponnagyun Township, on 10 November 2022, leading to more casualties and injured villagers. (Source: redacted for privacy reasons).
Graphic imagery online has confirmed the presence of seven (source redacted for privacy reasons) alleged casualties (deceased individuals), showing what appears to be one elderly woman and six men. Other sources have listed between 8 and 10 casualties, including an 80 year old woman.
A list of 10 casualties was shared on Western News Agency Facebook page, listing the names as:
U Maung Maung Thein - ဦးမောင်မောင်သိန်း
U Maung Sanhla - ဦးမောင်စံလှ
U Khin Maung - ဦးခင်မောင်
U Maung Kyaw Thein - ဦးမောင်ကျော်သိန်း
U Kyaw Zan - ဦးကျော်ဇံ
Daw Yine Nyun Phu - ဒေါ်ယိုင်ညွှန့်ဖြူ
Myin Thein Myint - မခင်သိန်းမြင့်
U Tun Than Kyaw -ဦးထွန်းသာကျော်
U Aye Tun Sein - ဦးအေးထွန်းစိန်
doctor/medicine man - ဆေးဆရာ
Myanmar Now also listed nine names of alleged casualties, including:
Ma Gyi, 86; - မကြီး ၈၆ နှစ်
Maung Kyaw Thein, 62; - မောင်ကျော်သိန်း ၆၂ နှစ်
Kyaw Zan, 60; - ကျော်ဇံ ၆၀ နှစ်
Khin Maung, 58; - ခင်မောင် ၅၈ နှစ်
May Nu, 54; - မေနု ၅၄ နှစ်
Mhe Ni, 45; - မှဲ့နီ ၄၅ နှစ်
Maung Maung Thein, 43; and - မောင်မောင်သိန်း ၄၃ နှစ်
Maung San Hla, 37; - မောင်စံလှ ၃၇ နှစ်
as well as Kyaw Naing. - ကျော်နိုင်
Figure 7: Graphic images of five victims and how they were discovered on 11 November 2022, the day after the attack on Sin Inn Gyi Village (ဆင်အင်းကြီ). (Source: Narinjara News).
Post attack response
The BBC reported on 16 November 2022 that nine village administrators around Ponnagyun township had vacated their positions because they felt they couldn’t keep the township safe from the rising conflict, just days after this attack in Sin Inn Gyi village.
On 11 November 2022, the ULA released a statement which was subsequently reported on by Myanmar Now, declaring the LIB 334 (source redacted for privacy reasons) and 550 responsible for shelling, drone attacks, firing upon, killing and setting houses on fire in Sin Inn Gyi Village on 10 November 2022. Further, the political group also reportedly declared they would retaliate for this attack on innocent villagers, calling the SAC cowards for attacking unarmed villagers instead of engaging with armed forces.
The SAC currently has not responded to the attack on Sin Inn Gyi village.
The conflict between the AA and SAC military continues to rise in Rakhine state. Rakhine state will continue to be monitored in an attempt to verify claims of attacks and conflict, especially where it impacts the local civilian population.
Arakan Army AA
Light Infantry Battalion LIB
State Administrative Council SAC
United League of Arakan ULA
User-Generated Content UGC