A new book on the Rohingya crisis authored by Myanmar's army, shows a man standing over two bodies wielding a farming tool. “Bengalis killed local ethnics brutally”, reads the caption.
The photo appears in a section of the book covering ethnic riots in Myanmar in the 1940s. The text says the image shows Buddhists murdered by Rohingya - members of a Muslim minority the book refers to as “Bengalis” to imply they are illegal immigrants.
But Reuters claims that the photograph was actually taken during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war, when hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis were killed by Pakistani troops.
The book was published in July by the army's department of public relations and psychological warfare. The image is one of three that appear in the book. Another image with caption saying that Bengalis intruded into the country after British Colonalisation occupied the lower part of Myanmar, is actually an award winning image of Rwandan Hutu refugees leaving Tansania.
The 117-page “Myanmar Politics and the Tatmadaw: Part I” relates the army’s narrative of August last year, when some 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine to Bangladesh, according to United Nations agencies, triggering reports of mass killings, rape, and arson. Tatmadaw is the official name of Myanmar’s military.
Much of the content is sourced to the military’s “True News” information unit, which since the start of the crisis has distributed news giving the army’s perspective, mostly via Facebook.
On Monday, Facebook banned the army chief and other military officials accused of using the platform to “inflame ethnic and religious tensions”. The same day, U.N investigators accused Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of overseeing a campaign with “genocidal intent” and recommended he and other senior officials be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
The book also seeks to trace the history of the Rohingya - who regard themselves as native to western Myanmar - casting them as interlopers from Bangladesh.