Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

The exact number of the returnees is still unknown.

It was a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during its operations in the western state of Rakhine.

The United States has previously said the sweeping military counteroffensive amounted to "ethnic cleansing".

Myanmar has been accused of blocking journalists from traveling independently to Rakhine to look first-hand at the crackdown, and to verify refugees' claims of murder, mass rape and burning of villages by security forces.

The Myanmar military's involvement in the deaths of 10 Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State, admitted by the commander-in-chief, is just a fraction of the abuses for which security forces are culpable, rights groups say.

Asked if the revelations about the killing at the village of Inn Din, about 50km north of the state capital Sittwe, could be a concern for refugees who are being asked to return, Suu Kyi said: "Some people might be afraid, but this is not something that has happened right now". The army appointed a senior officer to investigate.

The military said on Wednesday its investigation had found that members of the security forces had killed the 10 and that action would be taken against them. The use of the term "Bengali" is the commonly used term for Rohingya in Burma as it implies they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite them living in Burma for generations.

"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 said, referring to the findings of the investigating team.

The statement also said the 10 men admitted during the detention that they were linked to the terrorist organisation and were recruits to carry out terror attacks.

The villagers assisted in the execution, according to the statement, because they wanted revenge on the Rohingya militants who had killed their family members in the past. Security forces had to protect Inn Din village because it is surrounded by Muslim villages of which residents threatened the Inn Din villagers, it said.

"Villagers involved and security personnel who broke the Rules of Engagement will be taken action in accordance with the law", it added. The same officer had been in charge of a wider probe into the conduct of troops in the conflict that concluded in a report in November that no atrocities had taken place.

"This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing", James Gomez, Amnesty International's regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told RFA.

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