Global News

Myanmar: Military's mass grave admission exposes extrajudicial killings of Rohingya

Myanmar: Military's mass grave admission exposes extrajudicial killings of Rohingya

The mass grave was discovered last month in cemetery in Inn Din village, about 30 miles north of the state capital Sittwe, prompting the military to open an investigation.

According to United Nations estimates, more than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after the Myanmar army launched a crackdown on suspected Muslim insurgents blamed for carrying out attacks on security posts in restive Rakhine state on August 25.

A statement from the office of the commander-in-chief on Wednesday said the military's investigation had found that members of the security forces had killed the 10.

The rights group Amnesty International said the statement from the military was "a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing".

The military, in its account of the killings, said "200 Bengali terrorists" armed with sticks and swords attacked soldiers in the area on September 1.

The plight of the Rohingya has received worldwide attention and led to the widespread condemnation of Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was previously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya.

The head of Myanmar's government and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to recognize the crimes committed against the Rohingya people, denying charges of "ethnic cleansing".

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"Action will be taken against the villagers who participated in the case and the members of security forces who broke the rules of engagement under the law", the statement said. "Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension", he said.

"I have spoken to many eye witnesses".

But Inn Din villager Hossain Ahammad said the slain men were "fishermen, farmers, lumberjacks and clerics". "They were on the run because the Inn Dinn village was under siege by the Myanmar government", he said.

"The military's acknowledgment that the security forces were involved in the killing of these 10 individuals is an important step", Ambassador Scot Marciel said in a forum on media freedom with journalism students and reporters in the main city Yangon.

Robertson warned that the admission it did not represent a change of heart from the military.

If convicted, Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, could face up to 14 years in jail.

The post on Facebook also gave the first confirmation of a mass Rohingya grave inside Rakhine state. "But they [army] have released this one because the Reuters journalists got the evidence", Lwin said.


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