Myanmar military ‘exonerates’ itself
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.
Rohingya refugees near the Naf River separating Myanmar and Bangladesh, after they crossed the border.