UPDATED: 18 false images allegedly from the Muslim massacre in Rakhine state (Arakan)

The troubles in the western part of Myanmar, Rakhine state, between the Muslim minority Rohingyas in Myanmar and Myanmar army since 1947 have been on the agenda again recently. According to the BBC’s news, 35 thousands people found asylum in Bangladesh in 5 September and 123 thousands of people have left the region because of the conflicts in Rakhine state since 25 August. In his statement, United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres said that this situation will affect stability of the whole region and there is a potential ethnic cleansing risk in the region. One of the migrants said to CNN that civil buddhists together with Myanmar army burned their straw cottages.

In the social media, the most of the photographs shared as belonging to this incident are not from Rakhine state. We compiled incorrect photographs claimed as being from the Muslim massacre in Rakhine state.

1) Photograph was taken after an earthquake in China

In April 2010, 1144 people died after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Qinghai province of China. Tibetan monks opened soup-kitchens for wounded people after this earthquake and 700 people died in this earthquake were burned with ceremony. The photographs shared as from Rakhine state actually belongs to the mass cremation in 17 April 2010.

2) Photograph is from an accident in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010

Another photograph allegedly from Rakhine state was actually taken in 2010 after a fuel tanker passing from Sange, a city in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, turned upside down and exploded.

The photograph from the accident caused the death of more than 210 people are used allegedly for various conflicts and incidents for many years.

3) Photograph is from 2003, Indonesia

This photograph is also not from Rakhine state. The photograph was taken in 2003 in Aceh region of Indonesia and rewarded. In the photograph, it can be seen a mother and her son killed during the conflict between Free Aceh Movement and state forces.

4) Photograph is from 2010, Haiti

The photograph was taken by Olivier-Laban-Mattei, AFP reporter in 2010 in Haiti. The photograph took the first prize by World Press Photo in 2011. In the photograph, the morgue of Port-au-Prince hospital can be seen after earthquake in Haiti in 12 January 2010.

5) Photograph is from the massacre in Rwanda in 1994

The photograph was taken by French photographer Albert Facelly when 800 thousand Tutsi and moderate Hutu were murdered by the extremist Hutus in 1994. The photograph was awarded second prize by World Press Photo.

6) Photograph is from a karate show in India

The photograph allegedly showing the torture to Muslims in Rakhine state, Myanmar is not representing truth. This photograph was taken during a karate show in a government school of India in 2009.

7) Photograph is from 2004, Thailand

In Thailand, the demonstrations started in January 2004 in Tak Bai region where Muslims live in caused the death of 500 people. This photograph was taken in October 2004 in same region. The photograph shows when the Tak Bai protesters were arrested by the police.

8) Photograph is from Cyclone Nargis in 2008

The photograph showing the drowning kids in water is from Cyclone Nargis in 2008 in Myanmar. The similar visual materials to this photograph taken by the citizens and sent to CNN can be also found on YouTube.

9) Photograph is from a movie released in 2004

Tweet: The massacre in Rakhine state, Myanmar is continuing. Those remaining silent against these crimes against humanity will be a party to the crime.#Myanmar

CHP’s (Republican People’s Party) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Minister of Family and Social Policies of Turkey Betül Sayan Kaya shared a photograph claimed as belonging Rakhine state. The photograph actually is a scene from a film named Voces inocentes by Luis Mandoki made in  2004.

Tweet: The women are raped and they have to leave their children killed in the jungle, in the mountains. This tears our hearts out.  

10) The photographs are from the training of Chinese children for Olympics

Tweet: Buddhist army torture Muslim children!

These photographs are belonging to the training of Chinese children for Olympics. The photographs by Barcoft Media was caused disputes about the way of Chinese children’s preparation for the Olympics in 2012. The documentary named “Little Big Dreams” about children who prepared Olympics is available on YouTube.

11) Photograph is from 2012, Tibet

Another photograph alleged from Rakhine state shows a person protesting the Chinese administration in Tibet in 2012. The young person named Jampa Yeşi set himself up on fire to protest the policies of Chinese administration and was extinguished by the people around him after he run 50 meters. The photographs were taken by AFP reporter Manish Swarup.

12) The image of headless child is from a car accident in Cambodia in 2015

This photographs were taken after an accident in Oddar Meanchey region of Cambodia in 2015. The photograph was shared allegedly from an attack of ISIS before in the social media but it was verified.

13) The video shows torture to a child in Cambodia


The video shows that a child was tortured was from Cambodia in 2016. After it shared in the social media, 3 people considered as related to the crime were arrested. The French fact-checking website Observers also stated that this video is not from Rakhine state.

14) Photograph is from a car accident in 2012, China

The photographs showing allegedly the accident of the car carrying Khin Nyunt, indicated as the responsible from the incidents in Rakhine state is actually from a car accident in China in 2012.

The photographs belonging to the car accident that 35 monks were injured have been in circulation in the internet since 2012. The photographs were shared for the first time in the website named esanguide.com. Also, it can be seen an analyse verifying that the photographs are not from Rakhine state.


15) Photograph is from Haiti eartquake in 2010

The photograph allegedly from Rakhine state was taken after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Also, a different photograph from this earthquake can be seen in Getty Images.


16) Photograph is from a child abuse incident in Tailand

The photograph allegedly from Rakhine state has been in circulation in the internet since 2015. The photograph is from a violence incident in district of Nakhon Pathorn, Tailand. The Thai boy, 7 years old, was put under protection after this incident. According to the news, the child abuse incidents happen in the region intensively. There are news about this incidents also in different websites.

17) Photograph is from the ferrybot accident in 2016, Myanmar

The photograph shared by news websites and in the social media is actually from a ferryboat accident in 17 October 2016, Myanmar. According to the news of the media organisation named Eleven Broadcasting in Myanmar, twenty lost dead body found. The photographs shared by different social media accounts also shows that the photograph is from this ferryboat incident.

18) Photograph is from a water channel in Lahore, Pakistan

The photograph allegedly from Rakhine state showing hundreds of people walking in a water channel is from Lahore, Pakistan. The water channel in Lahore, the second biggest city of Pakistan, is actually quite famous. There are different photographs of the water channel that the people visit the water channel to freshen. Although the original photograph is not found, it can be said that the photograph is not from Rakhine state considering the geographic pattern of the channel and the casual clothes of the people in the photograph. In the Youtube video uploaded in 2016, it is also possible to see the angle of the photograph. Lastly, the French fact checking website Observers also states that the photograph is from Lahore water channel in the analysis which they examine the false photographs from Rakhine state.

Editor’s note: The last two materials examined with the collaboration of the French fact-checking website Observers.

Publish Date: 05.09.2017 / 12:00

Last update:


  • 3 new photographs added. 08.09.2017 / 17:35
  • 2 new photographs added. 05.09.2017 / 17:09