Monday, 23 July, 2018

Myanmar Military Admits to Killing 10 Rohingya Found in Mass Grave

T181302Z_1975931627_RC1B862BD000_RTRMADP_3_MYANMAR-ROHINGYA-BANGLADESH-940x580 Myanmar: Military's mass grave admission exposes extrajudicial killings of Rohingya
Kenny Thornton | 12 January, 2018, 15:50

Some observers say the army move is an attempt to retake control of the story after rumours of extra-judical killings at Inn Din and the surrounding area began to seep out.

Northern Rakhine is home to millions of the country's Muslim minority but the government does not recognise them as one of the ethnic groups and has labeled them as "Bengalis", meaning intruders from neighbouring Bangladesh.

After months denying any wrongdoing, Myanmar has admitted its forces helped kill 10 Rohingya in custody in an apparent bid to blame a few rogue soldiers for what the global community alleges is part of an organized ethnic cleansing campaign.

"This is quite a striking acknowledgement by Myanmar's military of wrongdoing", said political analyst Richard Horsey. The U.N. and USA have described the military operation as "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority, but have not released specific death tolls.

It was a rare acknowledgment of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during the operation it launched in northern Rakhine in response to Rohingya militant attacks on August 25.

The office of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing confirmed Wednesday that security forces took part in killing "Bengali terrorists" on September 2 in the village of Inn Din in Maungdaw, using a pejorative term for Rohingya.

In a statement on Facebook, Myanmar's military commander, Min Aung Hlaing, said the slain Rohingya were "Bengali terrorists" who were part of a larger group of 200 that attacked Myanmese soldiers with sticks and swords past year.

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A statement posted on the official Facebook page of the Burmese armed forces sets out details of the killing of alleged Rohingya militants, who have launched small-scale attacks on security forces.

The captives should have been handed over to the police, in line with procedure, but the militants were attacking "continuously" and had destroyed two military vehicles with explosives, it said.

Matthew Smith, co-founder and chief executive of Fortify Rights, said the group, based in Bangkok, had documented similar atrocities across the northern Rakhine State, where a military crackdown prompted by Rohingya militant attacks has driven more than 650000 Rohingya to flee the country. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

"As some attacks coursed among them, four members of security forces near the pit shot them", the statement said.

"Action will be taken according to the law against villagers who were involved and security members who broke the Rules of Engagement", the post added.

The military investigation was led by Lt Gen Aye Win.

"It is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants a serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

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