Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Rohingya insurgents say 10 found in Myanmar grave innocent civilians'

Rohingya insurgents say 10 found in Myanmar grave innocent civilians'

JAPAN'S foreign minister, Taro Kono, has urged Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to guarantee the safe and voluntary return of displaced Rohingya Muslims to the troubled Rakhine state.

During a meeting on Friday, Kono asked Suu Kyi's government to allow humanitarian and media access to the affected area, the resettlement of returned refugees, and the implementation of recommendations made by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Myanmar's military said earlier this week its soldiers had killed 10 captured Muslim "terrorists" during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave the villagers had dug.

Around 655,000 Rohingya refugees, of whom children make up approximately 58 percent (379,900), according to Unicef, have sought safety in various camps in Bangladesh since August 25 when violence began in Myanmar.

"Impunity of perpetrators of such serious human rights violations must end", concluded the statement, which also called for full cooperation from the government led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Asked about the admission on Wednesday by Myanmar's military that its security forces and Buddhist villagers killed 10 captured Rohingya during clashes previous year, Suu Kyi stressed the importance of the rule of law and said the military will take responsibility.

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Observers hoped the emergence of Suu Kyi's civilian government in 2016 would see the army ease up on its notorious "scorched earth" approach to rebellion and conflict.

In response to Myanmar's military's admission of killing Rohingyas, Amnesty International said on Thursday that the confession is just the "tip of the iceberg". Humanitarian groups and independent media still cannot visit the area freely.

Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces had mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees on November 23, and Myanmar said it would start the process by Jan 23.

Myanmar refutes the allegations, blaming militants for causing the violence and the worldwide media and aid agencies for spreading false information due to a pro-Rohingya bias.

Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal in November past year on repatriating the refugees.

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