Myanmar: Soldiers, villagers killed Rohingya in mass grave

Japan conveys concern over Rohingya to Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

The results of an internal military investigation found that soldiers, along with local villagers, were culpable for the deaths of the Rohingya, who the military labeled "terrorists", according to a statement posted to the Facebook page of Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief. It comes as two reporters for Reuters news agency face trial for receiving secret documents reportedly related to the massacre.

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.

"It was found that there were no conditions to transfer the 10 Bengali terrorists to the police station and so it was chose to kill them".

The military claimed they had rushed to Inn Din to protect frightened Buddhist villagers and had been attacked by "200 Bengalis" with sticks and swords, 10 of whom were arrested and accused of having links to terrorists.

More than 600,000 Rohingya, who are not recognised by the Myanmar government as one of the country's many ethnic groups, have fled to Bangladesh since August a year ago, when violence between armed Rohingya and Myanmar security forces prompted a severe crackdown.

The Facebook statement goes on to say that the militant attacks had destroyed their military vehicles with explosives (despite having just noted that they were armed with melee weapons). Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate "clearance operations" against insurgents.

The military announced on Dec 18 that a mass grave containing 10 bodies had been found at the coastal village of Inn Din, about 50 km north of the state capital Sittwe.




The villagers assisted in the execution, according to the statement, because they wanted revenge on the Rohingya militants who had killed their family members in the past.

Four members of the security forces also opened fire.

The military investigation was led by Lieutenant General Aye Win.

James Gomez, Amnesty International's Southeast Asia and Pacific director, said the acknowledgement marked "a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing".

Although the Rohingya consider themselves an ethnic minority of Myanmar, numerous Buddhist majority consider them illegal foreigners from Bangladesh.

"It is true that both the villagers and security forces admitted they killed the 10 Bengali terrorists", the statement read. "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 from Rakhine State since last August".

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