Myanmar military admits wrongdoing after mass grave uncovered

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday it was "positive" that the country's military was taking responsibility for the actions of troops.

The request comes after Myanmar military admitted that some of its soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 captured Rohingya men in western Rakhine state in September past year and buried them in a mass grave near Inn Din village in Maungdaw township.

Myanmar's state-run media on Wednesday said authorities have started the land work to construct buildings to accommodate returned refugees from Bangladesh in northern Rakhine, where refugees will be temporarily placed after their citizenship is scrutinized.

Myanmar's military said earlier this week its soldiers had killed 10 captured Muslim "terrorists" during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave the villagers had dug.

While Foreign Minister Taro Kono is visiting Myanmar, the Japanese government announced a grant of $3 million to Myanmar's government to help facilitate the repatriation of the Rohingya.

After meeting the Japanese foreign minister yesterday, Suu Kyi raised the army's admission of involvement in the Inn Din killings as a "new step taken by our country". "I see it that way because a country needs to take responsibility for the rule of law in the country, and this is the first step on the road of taking responsibility and it is a positive thing".

Amnesty International has called the summary killings at Inn Din "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of atrocities carried out since August and urged a wider, impartial probe. Humanitarian groups and independent media are prohibited from traveling to the area freely.

Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces had mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees on 23 November, and Myanmar, said it would start the process by 23 January.

Myanmar refutes the allegations, blaming militants for causing the violence and the worldwide media and aid agencies for spreading false information due to a pro-Rohingya bias.

Myanmar does not consider the Rohingyas to be citizens, treating them mostly as Bangladeshi immigrants and imposing many restrictions on them, including on freedom of movement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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