10 September 2023
MAF helicopter attack
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Helicopter attack claims in Yinmarbin, Sagaing on 10 September 2023 recently emerged online, including that a Myanmar Air Force helicopter (MAF) fired on a school where IDP children were studying on 10 September 2023.
Investigators looked into the claims and found:
- Another source which claimed the attack involved an Mi-35 attack helicopter and took place at roughly 1300.
- the nearest airbase (Monywa) has been recently upgraded with a new runway, adding helicopter capacity
- historic satellite imagery reveals what appears to be an Mi-35 attack helicopter on the new runway
- an Mi-35 attack helicopter was sighted taking off from Monywa airbase at 12:01 and heading west, in the direction of the attack
- this sighting was published at 12:05 local time, before the attack had taken place
- same helicopter was sighted coming back from the direction of the attack just over an hour later
- no other Mi-35 helicopters were sighted taking off within range or within a feasible time window of the attack that day
- one hour would have given the helicopter long enough to carry out the attack and return to Monywa airbase
Myanmar Witness therefore believes that it is highly likely that the aircraft involved in the attack was a Mi-35 attack helicopter that took off from Monywa airbase, travelled west towards Yinmarbin township, carried out the attack and then returned to base, having spent just over an hour in the air.