In a remote village in Myanmar, local Buddhists and government troops killed 10 Rohingya Muslims and buried them in a shallow grave. The murders at Inn Din in September marked yet another chapter in a continuing series of atrocities carried out against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
But the government’s decision to arrest journalists from the Reuters news organization who reported on the massacre illustrates the latest efforts by Myanmar’s leaders to avoid accountability.
U.S. Classifies Attacks as Ethnic Cleansing
Since August, nearly 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes and crossed the border to seek safety in Bangladesh. They have brought with them accounts of mass killings, arson, rapes at the hands of the Myanmar government. The U.S. State Department has classified Mayanmar’s atrocities as ethnic cleansing.
The military of the Buddhist-majority country has challenged those descriptions. Leaders say their troops have taken legitimate actions in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.
Reuters Reporters Face 14-Year Prison Terms
An extensive Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre prompted Myanmar police authorities to arrest two of the news agency’s reporters in December. The journalists, who are Burmese citizens, were detained for allegedly obtaining confidential documents relating to events in Rakhine. Last month, the reporters were charged under Myanmar’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. If convicted, they face a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
This week, Reuters published a lengthy special report based on the work of the detained journalists and two colleagues. Their investigation includes first-person accounts from Myanmar’s paramilitary police, confirming the military’s lead role in the killings of eight Muslim men and two high school students in their late teens. Previous reporting has been based almost exclusively on information provided by survivors of the violence.
Buddhist Villagers Confirm Involvement in Killings
According to two Buddhists who dug graves for those who were killed, two were hacked to death by Buddhist villagers. The rest were shot by Myanmar troops. One of the gravediggers, a retired soldier from a nearby Buddhist village, said, “When they were being buried, some were still making noises. Others were already dead.”
You can read the full story here: Special Report: How Myanmar Forces Burned, Looted and Killed in a Remote Village.