Myanmar Military Admits to Killing 10 Rohingya Found in Mass Grave


Myanmar Military Admits to Killing 10 Rohingya Found in Mass Grave

Rights group calls for independent investigation as army acknowledges soldiers killed 10 Rohingya. "Only the security guards and some villagers from Inn Din village would know".

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.

The military issued a rare admission on Wednesday that some of its troops killed what it said were Muslim "terrorists" in September and buried their bodies in a mass grave in Inn Din village in Maungdaw township, which along with neighboring Buithdaung and Rathedaung townships, was the epicenter of recent violence against the Rohingya. The minority community fled to neighbouring Bangladesh for avoiding the brutality of murders and rapes.

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.

They were never seen again, said Marjan, who was later told by another man that her husband and the others were slaughtered.

Reuters news agency quoted the US ambassador to Myanmar as calling the revelations "an important step" while calling for more transparency and accountability.

The US hopes it will be followed by more transparency and accountability, said Ambassador, Scot Marciel said during a forum on media freedom with journalism students and reporters in Yangon. "I would stress this should be done, not as a favour to the global community, but because it's good for the health of Myanmar's democracy". The United Nations has called the army's campaign "ethnic cleansing". Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate "clearance operations" against insurgents.

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It "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", he said on Thursday.

But the villagers' interviews indicated that the army account of the massacre is deeply flawed and defensive, rather than an admission of misconduct.

The military said in a statement on the commander in chief's Facebook page that the attackers were from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, the militant group blamed for attacks on police posts in August that prompted the crackdown that left thousands of Rohingya dead and more than 650,000 displaced.

Reporting on both sides of the Rohingya crisis has proven hard for members of the foreign press who are prohibited from entering the conflict-torn areas of Rakhine state and rarely granted interviews with top government officials.

"They were not part of any movement. In the interim they need to be recognised first and foremost as children", she said, stressing that the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees rights to health, education and opportunities to learn and grow to all children, irrespective of their ethnicity or status or the circumstances in which they find themselves.

The United States also declared the violence against Rohingya Muslims to be "ethnic cleansing" and President Donald Trump's administration announced on December 21 that it sanctioned the country's Maj.

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