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

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

Multiple reports have since accused security forces and Buddhist vigilantes of indiscriminately attacking Muslims in the state and burning their villages.

A statement from the military commander-in-chief said that the four soldiers had killed 10 "Bengali terrorists" in Inn Din village near Maungdaw. Then members of the security forces shot them dead, the military said.

While the eyes of the world are on Myanmar's northern Rakhine and Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, more than 60,000 Rohingya children remain almost forgotten, trapped in appalling camps in central Rakhine where the shelters teeter on stilts above garbage and excrement, says Unicef.

Serious communal violence between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted in 2012 and sporadic unrest followed.

In one of its firmest statements yet, the European Union said that the case was an important test for the country's commitment to developing democracy after years of military rule and called for the journalists' release.

After they were detained, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the arrests showed how press freedom was deteriorating in Myanmar, while U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for their immediate release.

"Rohingyas must not be sent back to the genocide zones of Burma without security and citizenship", said Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of Burma Task Force USA, a coalition of 19 US and Canadian Muslim organizations dedicated to advocating for the Rohingya and ending genocide in Myanmar.

"If this is done, the problems in Rakhine state will disappear", he said.


The government of Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, could not resolve the problems in ethnically and religiously divided Rakhine without the collaboration of military leaders and the nation's former leaders, Saw Hlaing, executive member of the California-based Burmese American Muslims Association, told the Myanmar Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a sister entity of BenarNews.

"This is quite a striking acknowledgement by Myanmar's military of wrongdoing", said political analyst Richard Horsey.

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

UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado, who is among the few outsiders to reach remote camps by boat, said global agencies still did not know the extent of the suffering among 200,000 Rohingya living in Rakhine under severe restrictions because of bans on outsiders travelling there. Thousands of other Rohingya, as well as children, have been kept in disease-ridden camps where UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said that shelters "teeter on stilts above garbage and excrement".

Mercado said it was extremely hard for Rohingya to leave the camps for medical treatment.

Rohingya parents were refusing vaccinations because Buddhist security officers accompany those offering to provide them.

The US embassy said it was "very disappointed" by the decision to pursue charges.

Lindsay Murdoch is a three-time victor of the Walkley Award, Australia's top award for journalistic excellence. In 1999 he covered the tumultuous events in East Timor, and in 2003 he covered the Iraq war while embedded with US Marines.

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