Health Care

Reuters says Myanmar held journalists for probing Rohingya massacre

Reuters says Myanmar held journalists for probing Rohingya massacre

In additionto ongoing massacres, rapes and the wholesale destruction of villages by the Myanmar military in western Rakhine state that has forced almost 750,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, the food supply now appears to be another weapon that's being used against the dwindling numbers of Rohingya.

"One grave for 10 people", said a retired soldier who told Reuters he helped dig the pit and witnessed the killings.

They offer evidence of a massacre believed to have taken place on the morning of 2 September past year, after the arrival of troops in the village of Inn Din drove its Rohingya inhabitants to flee.

The Rohingya Muslims, who have been loathed by Myanmar's Buddhist majority for decades, are locked down in their villages, sometimes even in their homes and prevented from farming, fishing, foraging, trade and work, aid group says.

Released by Reuters news agency as part of an ongoing investigation, the photographs show 10 men tied together in a line, facing the camera.

Myanmar's military has repeatedly and vehemently denied any deliberate violence against civilians in the Rohingya-majority Rakhine State, claiming it has been conducting a battle against a militant insurgency in the country's west.

The account was based on testimony from Buddhist villagers, security officers and relatives of the slain men. The Myanmar government contends the Rohingya are essentially squatters, although the two communities have lived side by side for centuries.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh had earlier in December past year, formed Joint Working Group (JWG) to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. In a single month, more than 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in Rakhine State, where the conflict erupted, according to Doctors Without Borders.

"We've been bystanders to a genocide", she said.

"Myanmar's security forces are building on entrenched patterns of abuse to silently squeeze out the country as numerous remaining Rohingya as possible".

"The global community needs to stop stalling and do what's necessary to hold accountable those who are responsible before evidence is tainted or lost, memories fade, and more people suffer", said the group's chief executive Matthew Smith. "This evidence marks a turning point because, for the first time since this all started to unfold in August, we have heard from the perpetrators themselves".

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations human rights investigator for Myanmar who has been barred from visiting the Rohingya areas, echoed that call and added in a tweet: "Independent & credible investigation needed to get to the bottom of the Inn Din massacre". During the reporting of this article, two Reuters journalists were arrested by Myanmar police. They are in prison while a court decides if they should be charged under the colonial-era act.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled the area since last August, carrying stories of atrocities at the hands of troops and vigilante groups in the Buddhist-majority country.


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