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Monday, April 23, 2018

Confession should be honest

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Myanmar's army has admitted for the first time its soldiers were involved in the killing of Rohingya Muslims in recent violence in Rakhine state. It said an inquiry had found that four members of the security forces were involved in the killing of 10 people in Inn Din village near Maungdaw. The report said the four had helped villagers carry out a revenge attack on what it called "Bengali terrorists". Myanmar has refused to allow journalists and external investigators into Rakhine to look into the allegations of abuses.

The military announced last month that it would investigate a grave containing 10 skeletons that had been found near Inn Din. The results of the investigation, published on the military commander-in-chief's Facebook page, said the massacre took place on 2 September.

"It is true that both the villagers and security forces admitted they killed the 10 Bengali terrorists," it said, using their usual term to refer to Rohingya militants. "The army will take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement.  "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists." This is a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military.

 In November, the military exonerated itself of blame in the recent violence, and flat out denied killing any Rohingya people, burning villages, raping women and girls and stealing possessions. Despite all the evidence of atrocities in Rakhine, until now the only mass grave the Myanmar authorities have found was blamed on Rohingya militants and contained the bodies of what they said were 28 Hindu villagers.

There has been speculation that the detention in December of two Reuters reporters came after they received information about the massacre at Inn Din. UN human rights investigator Yanghee Lee had been due to visit Myanmar this month but was banned in December after the government accused her of not being "impartial and objective". She said the decision to block her suggested "something terribly awful" was happening in Rakhine.

Though, on the surface, the statement seems like a confession, it doesn't present the real scenario. According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), minimum 6,700 Rohingya were murdered and violently tortured within only one month of the army invasion. The real statistics of death and torture is impossible to guess.

The refugee Rohingyas are still bearing the sore of torture on their body and nightmarish memories in their mind. Media, human right organizations have confirmed brutal rape and torture on Rohingyas. What the Myanmar army has confessed is like trying to hush something up, when it already known to all. They are providing a bonsai version of their brutality intending to conceal the actual terrible atrocities.

Astonishingly, they are calling Rohingyas as 'Bengali terrorists', even when they are lying. The truth is known to the whole world now. Myanmar army has done something which is equivalent to war crime and ethnic cleansing. If they wanted to be transparent, they would allow international investigators to search for the truth and bring the true criminals to justice.

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