04/11/2018, 09.38
MYANMAR
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Seven Burmese military condemned for massacre of 10 Rohingya

Four officers and three soldiers sentenced to 10 years in prison with forced labor. The victims were buried in a mass grave at the beginning of September 2017, after being hacked to death and riddled with bullets. Military leaders, contradicted by the witnesses, had declared that the 10 victims belonged to a group of 200 militants.

Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Burmese authorities have sentenced seven military to 10 years in prison with forced labor for "having contributed and taken part" in the killing of 10 Muslim Rohingya, in a village in the northwest of the state of Rakhine last September, a note released on the internet by the office of the commander of the Armed Forces of Naypyitaw, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing announced today.

Two Reuters journalists - Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 - had investigated the massacre, before being arrested in December. Two months later, the authorities announced that in order to verify the incident, the military leaders had opened an internal investigation, not connected to that of the reporters, accused of having illegally obtained secret government documents.

The 10 Rohingya men from the northern village of Inn Din had been buried in a mass grave in early September 2017, were buried in a mass grave in early September after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbours and soldiers. 

" Four officers were denounced and permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labour at a prison in a remote area,” reads the military statement of Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. " Three soldiers of other rank were demoted to the rank of ‘private’, permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labour at a prison in a remote area.”

It added that legal proceedings against the police personnel and civilians “involved in the crime” are still under way. On 10 January, the military leaders declared that the 10 victims belonged to a group of 200 militants who had attacked the security forces. The inhabitants of the Buddhist villages had therefore attacked some of them with cutting weapons and the soldiers opened fire on the others.

The version of events provided by the Armed Forces is however contradicted by the accounts of witnesses, Rohingya and Buddhists of the Rakhine ethnic group. The inhabitants of the Buddhist villages did not report any attacks on the insurgents against Inn Din security forces. Rohingya witnesses say the soldiers rounded up a group of hundreds of men, women and children who had sought safety on a nearby beach.

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