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

Marsha Scott
January 14, 2018

Security forces had been conducting a "clearance operation" in the area on Sept 1 when "200 Bengali terrorists attacked using sticks and swords", the military said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of its commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

"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.

An ethnic Rakhine Buddhist mob dug a grave before setting upon the Rohingya with knives and farm tools, according to the military's report.

Japan's foreign minister has urged Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to ensure the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the country.

But the military has insisted that there has been no wrongdoing by any security forces. Then members of the security forces shot them dead, the military said.

Fortify Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have described the admission that ethnic Rakhine villagers and security forces killed 10 Royingya Muslims in Inn Dinn village on September 2 past year as the "tip of the iceberg", and want an international investigation.

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In response to Myanmar's military's admission of killing Rohingyas, Amnesty International said on Thursday that the confession is just the "tip of the iceberg". Myanmar officials refer to the Rohingya as Bengalis, a pejorative term used to imply they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

But until now Myanmar authorities have only blamed Rohingya militants for causing a human catastrophe that has left 655,000 of the minority in squalid camps in Bangladesh.

The crackdown has rapidly spiraled into one of the worst human rights crises in the world, with more than 650,000 Rohingya fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape government repression. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said the admission substantiated allegations made by human rights groups and the United Nations of ethnic cleansing against "the most persecuted Rohingya people".

The Rakhine state is home to a majority of Muslims in Myanmar, who have been denied citizenship and long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the extremists.

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".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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