Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Myanmar army's admission of killings a 'positive step': Suu

Myanmar army's admission of killings a 'positive step': Suu

More than 600,000 Rohingya, who are not recognised by the Myanmar government as one of the country's many ethnic groups, have fled to Bangladesh since August previous year, when violence between armed Rohingya and Myanmar security forces prompted a severe crackdown.

Kono arrived in Rakhine state on board a Myanmar military helicopter on Saturday as the first minister from a foreign country to visit the region.

A state-run newspaper says Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called the military's investigation into the deaths of Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave a "positive indication".

During a meeting with Suu Kyi, Foreign Minister Taro Kono who is visiting Myanmar asked for her government to allow humanitarian and media access to the affected area, the resettlement of returned refugees and the implementation of recommendations made by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

After months of staunch denials of abuse, the army on Wednesday said a probe found four members of the security forces helped kill 10 Rohingya militant suspects at Inn Din village on September 2, leaving their bodies in a hastily dug pit. It said the 10 were "Bengali terrorists" who threatened villagers, but that the military would "take action" against those who "broke the rules of engagement".

But the conflict area of Rakhine remains locked down to media, aid agencies and United Nations investigators.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not acknowledge Royingya as a minority group even though they have lived in the country for generations.

"More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine since a military crackdown launched in August 2017, " it reported.

Some 655,000 Rohingya have fled western Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August, carrying with them consistent accounts of atrocities by Myanmar's army.

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