MYANMAR: Soldiers, police facing action over village killings

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson right meets Myanmar’s Foreign Minster Aung San Suu Kyi

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson right meets Myanmar’s Foreign Minster Aung San Suu Kyi

After months of denying any abuses by its troops, Myanmar's military admitted in January that security officers had assisted with the killing of 10 Rohingya men in Rakhine's Inn Din village.

The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted the arrest of two of the news agency's reporters.

On Friday, Reuters worldwide news agency published a report that provided more details that led to the killing of the 10 people, which the Tatmadaw said were suspected terrorists.

But U Zaw Htay said the government action against the security personnel has nothing to do with the Reuters report, noting that the government initiative was based on the results of its own investigation. Buddhist villagers attacked some of them with swords and soldiers shot the others dead, the military said, adding that it would take action against those involved. And Rohingya witnesses told Reuters that soldiers plucked the 10 from among hundreds of men, women and children who had sought safety on a nearby beach.

But foreign governments and global aid groups, including the United Nations, have criticised the Myanmar government and the Tatmadaw for alleged atrocities against Muslims in the area, which drove more than 650,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. Myanmar citizens Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were detained on 12 December for allegedly obtaining confidential documents.

The journalists could face a maximum of 14 years in prison under official secrets act legislation. "And we are not giving blanket denials".

There has been no official comment from the government following the publication of the report.

Fresh reports of mass graves in Rakhine - and the arrest of two Reuters journalists investigating an alleged massacre - have heightened pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army, who she is in a delicate power-sharing arrangement with.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday met with Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and discussed the latest situation in Rakhine State at her office in Nay Pyi Taw, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The UN has accused Myanmar security forces of driving the Muslim minority across the border in an ethnic cleansing campaign.

"I underlined the importance of the Burmese authorities carrying out a full and independent investigation into the violence in Rakhine, and to hold to account those responsible for human rights violations".

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