Advertisement

Amnesty International: Myanmar using fuel supply chain to launch airstrikes on civilians

Amnesty International has accused Myanmar's government of using its national supply chain to fuel military fighter jets that carry out airstrikes on innocent civilians. File photo by EPA-EFE
1 of 4 | Amnesty International has accused Myanmar's government of using its national supply chain to fuel military fighter jets that carry out airstrikes on innocent civilians. File photo by EPA-EFE

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- An investigation into last week's airstrike by Myanmar's military that killed 80 civilians at a music festival has honed in on an aviation fuel supply chain that has aided hundreds of similar attacks, according to Amnesty International.

On Thursday, the world's foremost human rights watchdog published the findings of its probe into the Oct. 23 bombing by three fighter jets in the country's mountainous northern state of Kachin.

Advertisement

The report accuses Myanmar's government of war crimes and issues a call to the international community to immediately suspend shipments of fuel to the country.

Leaked documents from inside Puma Energy, which oversees the state gas supply, sparked the investigation.

"But Puma is not alone," Amnesty said in the report that also implicated ExxonMobil, Thai Oil, PetroChina and Rosneft.

"Other companies play significant roles in the supply chain of aviation fuel in Myanmar, linking them to the same human rights violations."

Most notably, the investigation has exposed the full extent of the military's covert gas pipeline for the first time since the government seized power in a coup last year.

Myanmar's National Unity Government, a government-in-exile composed of ousted lawmakers and politicians, called the attack a violation of International laws and said the military has conducted 240 airstrikes targeting civilian populations since the coup, resulting in more than 200 deaths.

Advertisement

Gas shipments, which have been key to the attacks, were traced to a distant port that supplies many of the country's air force fueling stations.

Between February 2021 and September 2022, "at least seven oil tankers offloaded eight shipments of aviation fuel at the port terminal managed by Puma Energy's subsidiary PEAS at Thilawa in the commercial capital Yangon," the agency said.

By publishing the report, Amnesty International said it was aiming to choke off the government's fuel supply in hopes of preventing any further atrocities.

Three fighter jets bombed the festival on a Sunday, killing at least four celebrity performers and dozens of civilians and officers of the Kachin Independence Army, a regional ethnic rebel group that has been a thorn in the side of Myanmar's military for decades.

"These air strikes have devastated families, terrorized civilians, killed and maimed victims. But if the planes can't fuel up, they can't fly out and wreak havoc," AI Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a statement. "Today we are calling on suppliers, shipping agents, vessel owners and maritime insurers to withdraw from a supply chain that is benefitting the Myanmar Air Force."

Several other humanitarian organizations in the region aided the investigation, including Justice For Myanmar and Burma Campaign U.K.

Advertisement

Amnesty said the investigation contains a mountain of evidence, including corporate filings, vessel-tracking data, satellite images, public records and interviews with Puma Energy sources and aviators who previously defected from Myanmar's military.

Latest Headlines