This photo was taken in Cambodia in 2007 -- not Myanmar in 2021

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

A photo of a distraught girl has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was taken in Myanmar as the military launched air strikes on villages in southern Kayin state. The claim is false: the photo was taken in Cambodia in 2007 by photographer John Brown.

The photo was shared in this tweet on April 4, 2021.

“A little girl under Burmese army’s air strikes on villages,” the caption reads.

Screenshot captured on April 13, 2021, of the misleading Twitter post

The photo re-emerged online as Myanmar’s military launched air strikes against territory held by the Karen National Union (KNU) armed ethnic group near the Thai border in late March. The military bombardment forced thousands of villagers to flee for safety, AFP reported here.

The photo was also published alongside a similar claim here and here on Twitter, and here, here and here on Facebook.

The claim, however, is false. The photo shows a girl in Cambodia in 2007.

AFP found the same photo published here on the personal blog of Cambodia-based photographer John Brown.

Screenshot taken on April 13, 2021 from John Brown’s blog

The photo is captioned: “A young girl cries out in pain after receiving a minor injury to her right hand at The Stung Meanchey Landfill in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.”

Contacted by AFP, Brown said he took the photo on January 15, 2007 in a former landfill in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

“I took this photo at the now closed Stung Meanchey landfill in Phnom Penh on 2007-01-15 09:48:53,” he wrote in a message on Facebook on April 12, 2021. “The photo is REAL, but it has NOTHING to do with the current conflict in Myanmar.”

He continued: “The little girl cut her finger while playing with glass. I moved in, took a couple more shots, then walked about 1/2 mile to a small makeshift store to buy 3 bottles of water. I then returned to the girl, gathered her up in my arms, & went searching for the girl's family. Suddenly, a woman ran up to me & took the girl in her arms while I wet my shirt tail & began washing her hand with my shirt. I then gave the woman the 3 bottles of water & continued my day shooting photographs".

Brown sent another two photos of the girl to AFP, which he said were captured on the same date in Stung Meanchey landfill. The images show a wider view of the same landfill and a close-up of the girl’s injured hand surrounded by flies.

Photos captured by John Brown on January 15, 2021 showing the same girl

Brown wrote about the same landfill in an article published here in 2008.

The misleading social media posts were also debunked by Hong Kong fact-checking organisation Kauyim Media here.

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