Burmese army admits to killing Rohingya

Marie Harrington
January 13, 2018

Rohingya Muslims who fled a village where Myanmar has admitted its forces helped massacre 10 people said Thursday the victims were all civilians, not fighters as asserted by the Tatmadaw.

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.

The statement also said that responsible military officials who did not directly commit the killings but failed to supervise the detention and seek instruction from the higher command would also face sanctions. The executed Rohingya were reportedly forced to dig their own grave at gunpoint by both government forces and Burmese villagers.

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

The military refers to members of the Rohingya Muslim minority as "Bengalis", a term the Rohingya reject as implying they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

It was the first time Myanmar had admitted abuses during an army-led crackdown on Rohingya militants from late August that sparked a mass exodus of the Rohingya.

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"The army will take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement", the statement continued.

Myanmar's military targeting of an ethnic minority in the country n an attempt to uphold Buddhist nationalism is not unprecedented.

The 10 bodies were found in December in a mass grave near a cemetery in Inn Din village.

The European Union and representatives of Muslim nations renewed calls for a broader global investigation into violence in the western state of Rakhine, after the military said on Wednesday its soldiers had killed 10 captured Rohingya Muslim "terrorists" at the beginning of September. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

The military denied all accusations of significant human rights abuses in a report released in November following an investigation.

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". 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.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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