Myan­mar mil­i­tary ‘ex­on­er­ates’ it­self

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTINSIGHT -

NAYPYITAW: Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary is­sued its most force­ful de­nial yet that se­cu­rity forces com­mit­ted atroc­i­ties dur­ing “clear­ance op­er­a­tions” in the west of the coun­try, say­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had ab­solved them of any wrong­do­ing.

The re­port con­tra­dicts con­sis­tent state­ments from Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees now in Bangladesh — some with gun­shot wounds and se­vere burns — who have de­scribed mas­sacres, rape, loot­ing and the burn­ing of hun­dreds of vil­lages by Myan­mar’s army and civil­ian mobs.

In a state­ment is­sued on Mon- day, the mil­i­tary said it had in­ter­viewed thou­sands of peo­ple on the con­duct of troops in western Rakhine state af­ter Ro­hingya in­sur­gents launched a se­ries of deadly at­tacks there on Aug. 25.

While the re­port ac­knowl­edged bat­tles against mil­i­tants left 376 “ter­ror­ists” dead, it also claimed se­cu­rity forces “never shot at in­no­cent Ben­galis”.

Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment and most of the Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity say the mem­bers of the mi­nor­ity are “Ben­galis” who mi­grated il­le­gally from Bangladesh and do not ac­knowl­edge the Ro­hingya as a lo­cal eth­nic group.

NYT FILE PHOTO

Ro­hingya refugees near the Naf River sep­a­rat­ing Myan­mar and Bangladesh, af­ter they crossed the bor­der.

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