Myanmar: Soldiers, villagers killed Rohingya in mass grave

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

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 a year ago and buried them in a mass grave near Inn Din village in Maungdaw township.

JAPAN'S foreign minister, Taro Kono, has urged Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to guarantee the safe and voluntary return of displaced Rohingya Muslims to the troubled Rakhine state.

Kono's three-day visit to Myanmar includes traveling to Rakhine state.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), whose raids against security posts starting last August sparked sweeping military operations in the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine, said it "whole-heartedly welcomes the admission" of "war crimes" by the "Burmese terrorist army".

A statement Wednesday on the military commander-in-chief's page said the Rohingya found in the mass grave had threatened Buddhist villagers and were killed in retaliation.

"We have made a decision to provide the aid in response to the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to represent an global message of support so that the repatriation can be carried out promptly", said Foreign Ministry official Shinobu Yamaguchi in a statement.

"We have already said it is very hard to segregate who is a terrorist and who are innocent villagers", spokesman Zaw Htay said.

The Myanmar military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The acknowledgment is an indication that the country is ready to own responsibility for any breaches in rule of law, said Suu Kyi, after meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano, Efe news reported quoting the state media.

The killings took place on September 2, 2017 in the village of Inn Din, situated to the north of Sittwe, the capital of the state. The army appointed a senior officer to investigate.

As of December 2017, an estimated 6,55,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh to avoid the persecution from the security forces that started in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August previous year.

More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape a brutal crackdown in which security forces have been accused of systematic abuses tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

The UN and U.S. have accused Myanmar's army of ethnic cleansing, with the UN rights chief saying it may even be guilty of genocide.