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Video of Cambodian military convoy falsely linked to Myanmar conflict

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As fighting between the Burmese junta and ethnic rebel forces intensifies, a video of tanks being transported in Cambodia has been shared hundreds of times in social media with a false claim that it was taken in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in March 2024. The video was posted online at least two months earlier and was filmed at a market in the southwestern part of Cambodia. 

“10/3/2024 Rakhine,” reads the Burmese caption of a Facebook post published on March 10, 2024.

The video shows a convoy of large trucks carrying tanks in camouflage patterns through a road.

<span>Screenshot taken on March 25, 2024 of the false post</span>

Screenshot taken on March 25, 2024 of the false post

Clashes have rocked Myanmar’s western Rakhine state since the Arakan Army (AA) attacked security forces in November 2023, ending a ceasefire that had largely held since the military’s 2021 coup.

Junta troops hold Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, but in recent weeks AA fighters have made gains in surrounding districts.

Pro-junta Facebook accounts in Myanmar have also shared the video alongside similar claims here and here.

The comments under the post suggest that many people believed this video was filmed in Rakhine.

“May Myanmar army troops win,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “May our Tatmadaw succeed in all the wars.”

However, this video was not filmed in Myanmar. AFP was able to geolocate the video to a market in Cambodia.

Shot in Cambodia

Keyword search of the TikTok handle seen in the clip led to a video published on January 26, 2024 by a user who regularly uploads videos in Khmer – the official language of Cambodia (archived link).

The same user has also published multiple videos from the same location (archived link).

Below is the screenshot comparison of the video from the false post (left) and the video from TikTok (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the video from the misleading post (left) and the video from TikTok (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the video from the misleading post (left) and the video from TikTok (right)

Multiple billboards with Khmer language are visible in the video.

Using these visual clues, AFP was able to geolocate the video to Tram Kak market in Cambodia’s Takeo province, located about 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of the capital Phnom Penh.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the Google Street View image of Tram Kak market (right) with similarities highlighted by AFP:

<span>Screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the Google Street View image of Tram Kak market </span>

Screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the Google Street View image of Tram Kak market

 

Reverse image search on Google of the insignia seen in the tanks also showed that the vehicles belong to the Royal Cambodian Army as seen in this AFP photo. 

Below is the screenshot comparison of the tanks seen in the TikTok video (left) and the AFP photo (right) with the insignia highlighted by AFP: 

<span>Screenshot comparison of the tanks seen in the TikTok video (left) and the AFP photo (right) with the insignia highlighted by AFP</span>

Screenshot comparison of the tanks seen in the TikTok video (left) and the AFP photo (right) with the insignia highlighted by AFP

The video was published days after Cambodia held a military parade to mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Cambodian Army at its headquarters in the capital Phnom Penh on January 24, 2024 (archived link). 

AFP had previously debunked misinformation related to clashes in Myanmar here, here and here.

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