Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

'Japan conveys concern over Rohingya to Myanmar's Suu Kyi'

'Japan conveys concern over Rohingya to Myanmar's Suu Kyi'

The statement also said the 10 men admitted during the detention that they were linked to the terrorist organisation and were recruits to carry out terror attacks.

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.

Myanmar has been accused of blocking journalists from traveling independently to Rakhine to look first-hand at the crackdown, and to verify refugees' claims of murder, mass rape and burning of villages by security forces.

The government of Myanmar has banned UN Rapporteur and investigator, Yanghee Lee from entering the Rakhine state of Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority have been facing persecution and severe forms of abuse from the military.

A Myanmar soldier stands near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine State, Myanmar September 27, 2017.

The UN has condemned the army's campaign as ethnic cleansing.

According to United Nations estimates, more than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after the Myanmar army launched a crackdown on suspected Muslim insurgents blamed for carrying out attacks on security posts in restive Rakhine state on August 25. Myanmar denies that, saying its forces were carrying out legitimate counterinsurgency operations. The army appointed a senior officer to investigate.

Soldiers and villagers were involved in the killings of "Bengali terrorists" and legal action would be taken against them, said the statement on the Facebook page of Min Aung Hlaing, the military's commander-in-chief, quotes Al-Jazeera.

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Ten of the attackers were captured after the security forces drove the rest off by firing into the air, according to the statement on Facebook, which the military often uses to make announcements.

The captives should have been handed over to the police, in line with procedure, but the militants were attacking "continuously" and had destroyed two military vehicles with explosives, it said.

"Action will be taken against the villagers ... and the security force members who violated the rules of engagement according to the law", the statement said.

The army described the 10 Rohingya Muslims found in the mass grave as "Bengali terrorists".

Because of the troops' order to maintain stability in areas where terrorist attacks have continued, security forces chose to kill them with the assistance of about 10 villagers including U Maung Ni's sons, said the Tatmadaw statement.

"As some attacks coursed among them, four members of security forces near the pit shot them", the statement said.

"This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing".

However, Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, cautioned: "the full extent of the violations and crimes [.] will not be known until the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission and other independent observers are given unfettered access to Myanmar".

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