Myanmar Military Admits to Killing 10 Rohingya Found in Mass Grave


The remains of the victims were found in December in a mass grave outside Inn Din, a village in the Maungdaw Township.

Myanmar's military said its soldiers had murdered ten captured Muslim "terrorists" during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave they had dug.

After the last wave of violence in the Asian country, almost 900,000 members of that minority fled to Bangladesh in search of refuge and remain in makeshift settlements.

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.

According to the UNICEF, 60,000 Rohingya children remain almost forgotten and trapped in appalling camps in central Rakhine where the shelters teeter on stilts above garbage and excrement.

The Myanmar government, headed by one-time democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi - has since been accused of "ethnic cleansing" by the USA and the UN. The army appointed a senior officer to investigate.

In its account of the massacre the army chief's office said security forces captured 10 Rohingya militants before killing them as violence engulfed the village and its surrounding area.

This is the first time that the military recognize their responsibility in the death of members of that ethnic group of Muslim confession, repressed for decades by the Government, according to reports from non-governmental organizations that place the death toll in over 9,000.

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The captives should have been handed over to the police, in line with procedure, but the militants were attacking "continuously" and had destroyed two military vehicles with explosives, it said.

Mercado also pointed to "an acute level of fear between the Rakhine and Rohingya communities", recalling a story that parents in one Rohingya village said they hadn't had their children vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis because the government vaccinators were accompanied by security officers-while government workers said they dared not go to Rohingya communities without security.

"Action will be taken against the villagers ... and the security force members who violated the rules of engagement according to the law", the statement said.

"It was found that there were no conditions to transfer the 10 Bengali terrorists to the police station and so it was chose to kill them", the military said, referring to the findings of the investigating team.

The military investigation was led by Lieutenant General Aye Win.

Myanmar's admission that soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 Muslims in September was an important step and the United States hoped it would be followed by more transparency and accountability, the U.S. ambassador said yesterday.

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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