Myanmar Military Admits Part in Killings of Muslims Found in Mass Grave

A Myanmar soldier stands near Maungdaw in northern Rakhine state Myanmar on Sept. 27 2017

A Myanmar soldier stands near Maungdaw in northern Rakhine state Myanmar on Sept. 27 2017

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.

In separate statements, Fortify Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all described the admission as the "tip of the iceberg" and urged an international investigation.

His words echoed a comment from the spokesperson from the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Myanmar yesterday, who said: "The (military) statement underscores the need for an independent investigation and media reporting on allegations of such human rights violations".

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August, when the army launched a bloody crackdown in response to attacks on border posts by the armed group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

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".

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Refugees who crossed the border reported mass killings, gang rapes and arson, prompting the United Nations and rights groups to accuse Myanmar's army of possible crimes against humanity.

The 10 suspected terrorists were arrested following clashes with security forces last September, according to the military statement, which added security forces chose to execute them due to a lack of security and man power at the time.

The Defense Ministry said it will take action against the perpetrators involved in those killings and those in charge of security forces in the Rakhine State.

In a statement, the military said that due to the fighting they could not transport the men so the detainees were executed by soldiers and local villagers instead of being handed over to police.

More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape a brutal crackdown in which security forces have been accused of systematic abuses tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension.

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Ro Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya activist, said he did not believe the army's account of the incident. Burma denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate "clearance operations" against insurgents. "But this is false", he said.

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.

10 #Rohingya villagers killed by #Myanmar military & #Rakhine villagers were arrested from this place on August 31, 2017.

Robertson warned that the admission it did not represent a change of heart from the military.

The pair - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo - were taken into custody after being invited to dine with police officers on the outskirts of Myanmar's largest city, Yangon. "But they [army] have released this one because the Reuters journalists got the evidence", Lwin said.

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