Myanmar’s military has admitted that its soldiers murdered 10 captured Rohingya who it claims were “terrorists” during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after local Buddhist villagers had forced the men into a grave they had dug.
“Villagers and members of the security forces have confessed that they committed murder,” the military said in a statement.
It was a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during its operations in the western state of Rakhine.
The army launched a sweeping counteroffensive in the north of the state in response to Rohingya militant attacks on 25 August, triggering an exodus of more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslim villagers.
The United Nations has condemned the army’s campaign as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations.
The military announced on 18 December that a mass grave containing 10 bodies had been found at the coastal village of Inn Din, about 50km (30 miles) north of the state capital Sittwe. 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.
Security forces had been conducting a “clearance operation” in the area on 1 September when “200 Bengali terrorists attacked using sticks and swords”, the military said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of its commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
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