Myanmar Army's admission is 'tip of the iceberg'


Myanmar: Military's mass grave admission exposes extrajudicial killings of Rohingya

It was a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during its operations in the western state of Rakhine.

Myanmar's admission that soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 Muslims in September was an important step and the United States hoped it would be followed by more transparency and accountability, the USA ambassador said on Thursday. Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations.

Myanmar recently pledged that Rohingya Muslims who fled the country would be able to start their journey home later this month.

"The military's acknowledgment that the security forces were involved in the killing of these 10 individuals is an important step", Ambassador Scot Marciel said in a forum on media freedom with journalism students and reporters in the main city Yangon. We must work to urgently establish accountability and bring those responsible held to account by the law. "I would stress this should be done, not as a favor to the worldwide community, but because it's good for the health of Myanmar's democracy".

Those allegations, which have been cross-checked by media and rights groups, have seen Myanmar accused of ethnic cleansing by the United States and UN and prompted questions over whether the crackdown may have amounted to genocide.

While Foreign Minister Taro Kono is visiting Myanmar, the Japanese government announced a grant of $3 million to Myanmar's government to help facilitate the repatriation of the Rohingya. The army appointed a senior officer to investigate. Its military's statement comes after a long denial of mischief towards the minority.

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According to the inquiry, the 10 Rohingya were arrested as part of a "clearance operation" after security forces were reportedly attacked by a group of about 200 on September 1.

"Some villagers from Inn Din village and security members confessed they killed 10 Bengali terrorists", the office said in its post, using a pejorative term for Rohingya and blaming militants for causing the unrest in the village.

Asked about Wednesday's statement from the military, her spokesman Zaw Htay said Myanmar was committed to following the rule of law and took allegations of abuses seriously.

In separate statements, Fortify Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all described the admission as the "tip of the iceberg" and urged an international investigation. The Rohingya Muslim minority deserve justice and a chance to rebuild and rehabilitate their lives, which is why now more than ever we need to come together to press for more action to be taken and gain justice for those who have suffered harm and oppression from a disgraceful government.

The post on Facebook also gave the first confirmation of a mass Rohingya grave inside Rakhine state.

Amnesty previously accused the Burmese military of committing "crimes against humanity" after the human rights group documented its targeted campaign of violence, including the mass murder of civilians and the widespread rape of Rohingya women and girls. Seven soldiers were subsequently jailed for five years with hard labor.

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