Myanmar’s military admitted on Wednesday that its soldiers and Buddhist villagers killed 10 Rohingya Muslims whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Inn Dinn village of restive Rakhine state on September 2 last year.
This is the first public admission of wrongdoing by the military since it launched “clearance operations” against ethnic Rohingya in August last year, forcing more than 650,000 to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh in what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing”.
In a Facebook post, the military commander in chief said 10 ‘Bengali terrorists’ had threatened Buddhist villagers and they were killed in retaliation. Those responsible for the killings would be punished according to the law of the land, the post said.
‘Bengali’ is the name given by the government and Buddhist majority community to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The government has refused to accept Rohingya Muslims as a minority group even though they have been living 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.
The UN and other groups accuse the military of widespread atrocities against Rohingya, including killings, rapes and the burning of homes. But the military has insisted that there has been no wrongdoing by security forces.
Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, denying them almost all rights and rendering them stateless.