Myanmar security forces took part in killing 10 Rohingya: army

Posted January 13, 2018

The military of Myanmar has admitted that its soldiers killed 10 captured Rohingya Muslims, who they labelled "terrorists".

The statement also said that responsible military officials who did not directly commit the killings but failed to supervise the detention and seek instruction from the higher command would also face sanctions. 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 from Rakhine State since last August. This meant 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".

Myanmar's government does not recognise the term "Rohingya", and insists that the minority are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The public admission of wrongdoing is the military's first since it launched "clearance operations" against ethnic Rohingya in August, prompting more than 650,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in what the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing".

"Action will be taken according to the law against villagers who were involved and security members who broke the Rules of Engagement", the post added.

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.

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Northern Rakhine is home to millions of the country's Muslim minority but the government does not recognise them as one of the ethnic groups and has labeled them as "Bengalis", meaning intruders from neighbouring Bangladesh.

After being informed that there was a mass grave found near Inn Din village's cemetery, a team of five investigators led by Lt-Gen Aye Win from the office of commander-in-chief of Defense Services probed the case in December a year ago.

The military's statement on Wednesday said due to ongoing attacks, security forces deemed it impossible to bring the 10 men to the police station and decided instead to execute the suspects at the village cemetery on the morning after their capture. Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations.

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.

Amnesty International described the statement as "a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing".