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

Katrina Barker
January 13, 2018

A military investigation on the mass grave found near Inn Din village in Maungdaw township concluded the Myanmar's security forces broke the Rules of Engagement and was responsible for the killings, according to a military statement.

"Some villagers from Inn Din village and security members confessed they killed 10 Bengali terrorists", the office said in its post, using a pejorative term for Rohingya and blaming militants for causing the unrest in the village. It comes as two reporters for Reuters news agency face trial for receiving secret documents reportedly related to the massacre.

On Wednesday, it admitted that ethnic Rakhine villagers and security forces killed the 10 Royingya Muslims in the village on September 2 past year.

Myanmar insists that the Rohingya minority are illegal migrants from Bangladesh, hence the references to "Bengalis" in official statements. Previous internal inquiries have cleared the military of wrongdoing in Rakhine state, where an extensive campaign of violence has driven more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh.

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 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. Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

Myanmar's armed forces have for decades been accused by human rights groups and Western governments of abuses in the country's myriad ethnic conflicts, but it has been rare for soldiers to be held accountable.

Villagers had dug a pit and the men were ordered to enter it, where they were shot by the security forces.

The military investigation was led by Lieutenant General Aye Win.

Amnesty International described the statement as "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", the rights group said in a statement.

"It is true that both the villagers and security forces admitted they killed the 10 Bengali terrorists", the statement read.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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