Myanmar Military Leader Takes Responsibility For Deaths Of 10 Rohingya

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh with stories of arson mass murder and gang rape

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh with stories of arson mass murder and gang rape Bernat Armangue AP

According to multiple news outlets, one of the country's military commanders said on Facebook several members of his force and some villagers were involved in the killings of 10 Rohingya people.

Relations between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims who lived in separate areas in the Inn Din village tract grew tense following deadly small-scale attacks by Muslim militants on border guard stations on October 9, 2016, which triggered a crackdown by security forces.

It "warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August", he said on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August, when the army launched a bloody crackdown in response to attacks on border posts by the armed group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

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

During an interrogation at the village school, the Rohingya said they had connections with terrorists and were persuaded by Muslim religious scholars to carry out terrorist acts, the statement said. Myanmar officials refer to the Rohingya as Bengalis, a pejorative term used to imply they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Security forces stationed at Inn Din village were then attacked by about 200 Rohingya brandishing sticks and swords on September 1.

"We never made any mistakes, they are trying to stop us and intimidate us", the stunned journalist said as eight police officers ushered him out of the courtroom, his wife still clutching his hand, tears glistening on her cheek.

"Action will be taken against the villagers who participated in the case and the members of security forces who broke the Rules of Engagement under the law", the statement said. The military said on Wednesday its investigation had found members of the security forces had killed the ten and that action would be taken against them.

Inn Din villager Hossain Ahammad said the slain men were "fishermen, farmers, lumberjacks and clerics".

Last month Doctors Without Borders said at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the army crackdown on rebels in Rakhine - the highest estimated death toll yet of violence that erupted on Aug 25.

Reporting on both sides of the Rohingya crisis has proven hard for members of the foreign press who are prohibited from entering the conflict-torn areas of Rakhine state and rarely granted interviews with top government officials.

In December 2017, the government temporarily barred Yanghee Lee, a United Nations special rapporteur who works with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, from visiting Myanmar this month to evaluate rights developments, particularly in violence-wracked Rakhine state.

"This is not an issue of free press, it is a legal issue", said government spokesperson U Zaw Htay in a conversation with Al Jazeera.

James Gomez, Amnesty's regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, called the admission a positive development, but said it was "only the tip of the iceberg". Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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