Myanmar Forces and Buddhist Villagers Torched Rohingya Homes, then Killed

Myanmar Forces and Buddhist Villagers Torched Rohingya Homes, then Killed

The United Nations says the details of a Reuters investigation into the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is "alarming" and shows the need for a thorough probe into the violence in the country's Rakhine state.

Reuters was provided photos of the execution by a Buddhist village elder who said he wanted transparency, to prevent such killings in the future.

"Buddhist villagers interviewed for this article reported no attack by a large number of insurgents on security forces in Inn Din", Reuters said, adding that other interviews had revealed the massacre victims included fishermen, shopkeepers, an imam and two teenaged high school students. Accounts of the violence had previously come only from the victims.

Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo face up to 14 years in a Myanmar prison after being accused by the government of "illegally (acquiring) information" after gathering testimony on the alleged massacre.

Yangon has agreed on the return of thousands of Rohingya refugees who were earlier forced to leave their villages Rakhine in Myanmar following communal conflict between the Buddhist majority and the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority there.

If there was "strong and reliable primary evidence" of abuses, the government would investigate, he said.

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The military has said that the 10 men belonged to a group of 200 "terrorists" that attacked security forces.

Similarities exist between the Reuters report and the account from the military.

Instead, the men had been selected from hundreds of Rohingya men, women and children who fled the systematic torching of their village and sought safety on a beach, witnesses told Reuters. Members of the paramilitary police gave Reuters insider descriptions of the operation to drive out the Rohingya from Inn Din, confirming that the military played the lead role in the campaign.

The account marked the first time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated by testimony from security personnel in arson and killings in the north of Rakhine state that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

"Muslim houses were easy to burn because of the thatched roofs. Once we understood their legal situation, we, in consultation with Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their relatives, decided (to publish)", he said.

"These are two young journalists with families, out doing their jobs, in what we all support: free and independent journalism", Adler told CNN's Brian Stelter in January.

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