Myanmar’s military on Wednesday said that its security forces and Buddhist villagers in troubled Rakhine state had killed 10 Rohingya Muslims whose bodies were found in a mass grave in a village, Reuters reported. The military said action will be taken against the soldiers involved in the incident.
On December 18, 2017, the Myanmar Army had appointed a senior officer to investigate reports of a mass grave found at the coast village of Inn Din. More than 6,47,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, after violence broke out in Rakhine state. Both the United Nations and and the United States have called the violence an “ethnic cleansing” of the Muslim minority.
In a statement posted on the Facebook profile of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday, the military said the soldiers had been conducting a “clearance operation” in the area on September 1 when “200 Bengali terrorists attacked using sticks and swords”.
“It is true that both the villagers and security forces admitted they killed the 10 Bengali terrorists,” the statement said. “The army will take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement. This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists.”
Rohingyas have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar, though the country has repeatedly denied this claim.
In December 2017, Myanmar’s Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye had said that the country will begin repatriating families of the people who had fled from its Rakhine state to Bangladesh from January 22.