Myanmar Forces and Buddhist Villagers Torched Rohingya Homes, then Killed


On Thursday Reuters published a report describing how Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers executed 10 Rohingya men in Rakhine's Inn Dinn village on September 2, 2017 before dumping their bodies into a mass grave. Bound together, the 10 Rohingya captives watched their Buddhist neighbors dig a grave.

They offer evidence of a massacre believed to have taken place on the morning of 2 September a year ago, after the arrival of troops in the village of Inn Din drove its Rohingya inhabitants to flee. While the Rohingya, who have no citizenship rights, have been subject to decades of abuse in the Buddhist majority country, the most recent crackdowns - now being investigated as genocide - have resulted in thousands of deaths, mass rapes, and starvation.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said earlier in January that the country's forests and natural environment had been "severely" affected due to the large influx of the Rohingyas from Myanmar, particularly in Cox's Bazar, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Asked about the evidence Reuters had uncovered about the massacre, Myanmar government spokesperson Zaw Htay said on Thursday, before publication of the report: "We are not denying the allegations about violations of human rights".

Myanmar's military has repeatedly and vehemently denied any deliberate violence against civilians in the Rohingya-majority Rakhine State, claiming it has been conducting a battle against a militant insurgency in the country's west. The account marks the first time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated in violence against the Rohingya by testimony from security personnel themselves, Reuters said.

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The images were provided by a Buddhist village elder, Reuters said.

A Myanmar government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Myanmar and Bangladesh had earlier in December a year ago, formed Joint Working Group (JWG) to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

She said that, as well as an global probe, there needs to be a referral to the worldwide Criminal Court.

A month after the journalists' arrests, Myanmar's army issued a rare statement admitting that security forces took part in extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya "terrorists" in Inn Din village.

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Campaign group Fortify Rights also called for an independent investigation.

"Myanmar's security forces are building on entrenched patterns of abuse to silently squeeze out of the country as numerous remaining Rohingya as possible", said Matthew Wells, senior crisis adviser at Amnesty International, in a press statement, as reported by dpa.

Adler has said public pressure on the Myanmar government was needed to ensure the two journalists were spared a long prison sentence. "They remain held & must absolutely be released".

The reporters are charged with violating an arcane and rarely invoked law known as the Official Secrets Act, which dates from colonial British rule.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled the area since last August, carrying stories of atrocities at the hands of troops and vigilante groups in the Buddhist-majority country.

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