Sat images show village burning, relocation in Burma

Satellite images show that the government of Burma -- which it calls Myanmar -- has been destroying villages and relocating people in the countryside over the past year, The Washington Post reports. The American Association for the Advancement of Science reported that images collected over the past year show where villages have been burned or eliminated and where new villages have been constructed; they also show rapidly expanding military camps, Lars Bromley of the AAAS, said Friday.

Satellite images show that the government of Burma -- which it calls Myanmar -- has been destroying villages and relocating people in the countryside over the past year, The Washington Post reports.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science reported that images collected over the past year show where villages have been burned or eliminated and where new villages have been constructed; they also show rapidly expanding military camps, Lars Bromley of the AAAS, said Friday.

"We are trying to send a message to the military junta that we are watching from the sky," Aung Din, policy director for the U.S. Campaign for Burma, said Friday at a briefing on the photos.

AAAS compiled the images from organizations operating in the country -- commercial firms using low-orbit satellites that pass over Burma on a near-daily basis, Bromley said.

"Physical evidence of reported attacks on civilians sometimes can be subtle compared to the slash-and-burn types of destruction that we saw in Darfur or Zimbabwe. It's also a lush ecosystem where plants can quickly grow to cover burn marks and clouds and terrain often block satellite observation," he said.

"Eighteen of the locations showed evidence consistent with destroyed or damaged villages," he said. "We found evidence of expanded military camps in four other locations as well as multiple possibly relocated villages, and we documented growth in one refugee camp on the Thai border."

The images map to news events. There were reports of attacks on villages in April; images show the blackened remains of burned villages In addition, the photos showed several new villages near military camps, indicating forced relocations.

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