Myanmar Army Admits for First Time to Killing 10 Rohingya

a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh
More than 655,000 Rohingya from Myanmar's Rakhine state have sought refuge in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in late August. Photo: AFP

Myanmar security forces took part in a massacre of 10 Rohingya in September, the army chief’s office said Wednesday, admitting for the first time abuses during a crackdown that sparked a mass exodus of the Muslim minority.

The massacre took place on September 2 in the village of Inn Din in Rakhine state, the Facebook posting said, as tensions escalated pitting Rohingya against security forces and ethnic Rakhine locals following the killing of a Rakhine man.

“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.

The post also gave the first confirmation of a mass Rohingya grave inside Rakhine state following an army crackdown on militants from the minority group.

In its account, the office said security forces captured 10 Rohingya militants before killing them as violence engulfed Inn Din village and its surrounding area.

“The decision was made to kill them at a cemetery,” the post added.

Refugees who have fled in their hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh have given consistent accounts of massacres by Myanmar security forces flanked by ethnic Rakhine mobs.

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

But Myanmar’s army has until now staunchly rebutted allegations of misconduct, clearing itself of any wrongdoing in an internal probe.