Myanmar Faces Truth, Admits Soldiers Behind Rohingya Mass Grave

Rohingya refugees fix their makeshift shelter at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia Bangladesh on 9 January 2018. AFP

Rohingya refugees fix their makeshift shelter at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia Bangladesh on 9 January 2018. AFP

Lwin attributed the military's rare admission to the arrest of two Reuters journalists in December.

Much of Myanmar's Buddhist-majority population supports the army in what it calls a justified campaign against Rohingya militants, after their attacks on border guard police killed about a dozen people last August. Graphic reports of rape, murder, and torture have drawn worldwide condemnation and the United Nations says "genocide" can not be ruled out. Until now, the military has maintained that it is carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations.

"Amnesty International and others have documented overwhelming evidence that far beyond Inn Din, in villages and hamlets across northern Rakhine State, the military has murdered and raped Rohingya, and burned their villages to the ground".

Rohingya who fled Inn Din village to seek safety in Bangladesh contend that those killed were all civilians, not terrorists, as the army claims, AgenceFrance-Presse reported on Thursday. Then members of the security forces shot them dead, the military said.

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Zainab's parents, who were away on a pilgrimage at the time she went missing, blamed the police for their slow response. Police said Zainab was strangled to death and an autopsy later revealed that she had been raped before being murdered.

Soldiers and villagers were involved in the killings of "Bengali terrorists" and legal action would be taken against them, said the statement on the Facebook page of Min Aung Hlaing, the military's commander-in-chief, quotes Al-Jazeera.

Ten of the attackers were captured after the security forces drove the rest off by firing into the air, according to the statement on Facebook, which the military often uses to make announcements.

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.

Although the soldiers should have handed over the 10 men to police, they chose to kill them at a local cemetery on September 2, because Rohingya terrorists had carried out other attacks by landmines and set fire to two police vehicles in Thinbawgwe village, the statement said.

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Angry ethnic Rakhine Buddhist villagers, who had lost relatives in militant attacks, wanted to kill the captives, and stabbed them after forcing them into a grave on the outskirts of the village. The families of the reporters - both of whom had been working on stories about the military's operation in Rakhine state - said they were lured into a trap.

"Villagers and members of the security forces have confessed that they committed murder", the military said in the statement, promising that those responsible would be "dealt according with the law".

The military denied all accusations of significant human rights abuses in a report released in November after an investigation.

"This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing", James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said.

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Assange later taunted after Lasso's loss that he would "cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days". He has also called Assange a hacker.

The European Union and representatives of Muslim nations renewed calls for a broader worldwide investigation into violence in the western state of Rakhine, after the military said on Wednesday its soldiers had killed 10 captured Rohingya Muslim "terrorists" at the beginning of September.

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