Myanmar army opens probe amid reports of killings, abuse of Rohingya Muslims

Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine state, Myanmar
Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine state, Myanmar September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

October 14, 2017

By Wa Lone and Simon Lewis

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military has launched an internal probe into the conduct of soldiers during a counteroffensive that has sent more than half a million Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, many saying they witnessed killings, rape and arson by troops.

Coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks on 30 security posts on Aug. 25 sparked a ferocious military response in the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine state that the United Nations has said was ethnic cleansing.

A committee led by military Lieutenant-General Aye Win has begun an investigation into the behavior of military personnel, the office of the commander in chief said on Friday, insisting the operation was justified under Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s constitution.

According to a statement posted on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook page, the panel will ask, “Did they follow the military code of conduct? Did they exactly follow the command during the operation? After that (the committee) will release full information.”

Myanmar is refusing entry to a U.N. panel that was tasked with investigating allegations of abuses after a smaller military counteroffensive launched in October 2016.

But domestic investigations, including a previous internal military probe, have largely dismissed refugees’ claims of abuses committed during security forces’ “clearance operations”.

Thousands of refugees have continued to arrived cross the Naf river separating Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Bangladesh in recent days, even though Myanmar insists military operations ceased on Sept. 5.

Aid agencies estimate that 536,000 people have arrived in the Cox’s Bazar district, straining scarce resources of aid groups and local communities.

About 200,000 Rohingya were already in Bangladesh after fleeing persecution in Myanmar, where they have long been denied citizenship and faced restrictions on their movements and access to basic services.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has pledged accountability for human rights abuses and says Myanmar will accept back refugees who can prove they were residents of Myanmar.

The powerful army chief has taken a harder stance, however, telling the U.S. ambassador in Myanmar this week that the exodus of Rohingya, who he said were non-native “Bengalis,” was exaggerated.

In comments to Japan’s ambassador carried in state media on Friday, Min Aung Hlaing denied ethnic cleansing was taking place on the grounds that photos showed Muslims “departing calmly rather than fleeing in terror”.

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who led a commission set up by Suu Kyi to find solutions for the ethnically and religiously divided Rakhine, briefed the U.N. Security Council and other key states in an informal closed-door meeting on Friday.

Some council members are exploring if the 15-member body could agree a formal statement or even a resolution to call for an end to the violence, for full aid access, the safe return of refugees, access for a U.N. fact-finding mission to ensure accountability and implementation of Annan’s recommendations.

Annan said he hoped any possible Security Council resolution “urges the government to really press ahead and create conditions that will allow the refugees to return in dignity and with a sense of security, they should not be returned to camps.”

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Krishna N. Das in New Delhi; Editing by Nick Macfie and James Dalgleish)

  • MUSLIMANIA

    An article by a “reporter” at the UN… really?
    Since when is this not just globalist propaganda??? The Bangladeshi Rohingya BELONG IN BANGLADESH, NOT MYANMAR.
    And let’s not forget, folks… it was the violent Rohingya that started this crap. The Burmese army is merely finishing it.
    THE WORLD BELONGS TO MORE THAN JUST MUSLIMS.

    • ShemSilber2

      Shall we say, “Turnabout’s fair play”? The aim of Islam is to make every country Islamic, under sharia lawlessness.

      This uprising of the Ottomans, stirring conflict all around the globe, is shown in Revelation 13 to be a revival of Islam after it took a deadly wound, when the Ottoman empire was crushed, but it says there it will revive for a short order before it is smashed good and proper by the returning Master Yahusha (Lord Jesus), who judges and makes war in righteousness (Revelation 19:11) until He makes the kingdoms of this world the Kingdom of Yahuwah and of His Messiah (Revelation 11:15).

      The master of Islam is Azazel, the father of lies and murder (John 8:44), the not-so-great red dragon of Revelation 12 who is angry at the shortness of time that is running out on him (verse 12), falsely called “Allah” by Islam, as if he were a god rather than a high executive in the heavens turned criminal through pride and thrown out of the heavens (Isaiah 14:12-19; Ezekiel 28:11-19). When that evil one is banished to Gei-Hinnom, the lake of fire that the Master made for him and his fellow demons, that will be the END of Islam. Whoever of his abject slaves refuse the Master Yahusha’s (Lord Jesus’) offer of everlasting life through forgiveness of sins and a makeover and a change from mortal to perfect immortality, will suffer the second death in the lake of fire and be no more. Each of us has to make that choice for life through the only Door to everlasting life, the Master Yahusha, and blessed are those who choose that life, amein.

      • MUSLIMANIA

        Thank you for your edifications. I am proud to know you. We all look forward to the return of our Lord.

        • ShemSilber2

          As also He looks forward to returning to rule, and it’s as certain as if it were already done, amein!