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Myanmar military probe rejects atrocities in Rakhine

Investigation into abuses against Rohingya shows army has contempt for truth, rights group says
Myanmar military probe rejects atrocities in Rakhine

In this photograph taken on Oct. 21, 2016, Myanmar army soldiers patrol a village in Maungdaw, in Rakhine State as security operations continued following border post attacks on Oct 9. (Photo by AFP)

Published: May 26, 2017 07:39 AM GMT
Updated: May 26, 2017 07:39 AM GMT

A Myanmar military investigation report has rejected allegations by the United Nations that it committed atrocities during its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last year.

Some 65,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh as the military searched for those behind attacks on police border posts.

Many of those who fled described rapes, killings and other abuses by the army.

But the military said its own investigation found the claims were "false and fabricated," the BBC reported.

"Out of 18 accusations included in the [U.N. human rights body] OHCHR report, 12 were found to be incorrect, with [the] remaining six accusations found to be false and fabricated accusations based on lies and invented statements," Myanmar's state media quoted a report from the military as saying.

The military said it interviewed 3,000 villagers and 184 military officers and troops.

Soldiers were disciplined over two cases, for stealing a motorbike and beating villagers with sticks for failing to put out a fire, the military said.

The crackdown began after insurgents killed nine policemen in attacks on border posts between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Rakhine State. Reports then emerged that the military were targeting Rohingya indiscriminately.

Human Rights Watch said the army's failure to find its troops responsible for any serious abuses demonstrates the urgent need for the government to allow unfettered access to a United Nations international fact-finding mission.

"The Burmese [Myanmar] army's denials of well-documented abuses shows unvarnished contempt for truth, accountability, and respect for human rights," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director.

"The army's approach highlights the need for Aung San Suu Kyi's government to allow the U.N. fact-finding mission into [Myanmar], and to call on the army to provide full access to conflict areas."


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