Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

Myanmar admits killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in mass grave

The army said its personnel and Buddhist villagers were responsible for the deaths in Rakhine State, western Myanmar, home to more than half a million Rohingya who have fled across the border to Bangladesh.

Until now, however, security forces have denied any accusations of guilt.

The military's statement on Wednesday said the 10 Rohingya men were captured on September 1 when some 200 militants attacked security forces in Inn Dinn and interrogated by the military, before being killed the next day.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar has refused to accept Rohingya Muslims as a minority group, even though they have lived in the country for generations.

The military launched an investigation into the incident last month after the mass grave was found in the village's cemetery.

"Action will be taken according to the law against villagers who were involved and security members who broke the Rules of Engagement", the post added.

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.

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The plight of the Rohingya has received global attention and led to the widespread condemnation of Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was previously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Until Wednesday, Myanmar army has vigorously denied any abuses, instead locking down access to Rakhine state and accusing critics - including the United Nations - of pro-Rohingya bias and spreading "fake news".

Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, denying them nearly all rights and rendering them stateless.

Rohingya people are referred to as Bangladeshi as they have not been granted citizenship status.

James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement released Wednesday that the organisation documented "overwhelming evidence" in villages across the area that the "military has murdered and raped Rohingya, and burned their villages to the ground". However, few believe this will happen.

His words echoed a comment from the spokesperson from the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Myanmar yesterday, who said: "The (military) statement underscores the need for an independent investigation and media reporting on allegations of such human rights violations".

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

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