TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The statement is the army’s first public acknowledgement of wrongdoing since it launched “clearance operations” against Rohingya in August, prompting more than 650,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in what the United Nations (UN) has called “ethnic cleansing.”
A statement on the military commander-in-chief’s Facebook page said the Rohingya found in the mass grave had threatened Buddhist villagers and were killed in retaliation.
The UN and other groups have accused the military of widespread atrocities against Rohingya, including killings, rapes, and the burning of homes. But the military has previously denied any wrongdoing by security forces.
The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar has refused to accept Rohingya Muslims as a minority group, despite many families having lived in the country for generations.
They are widely referred to as “Bengalis” and accused of migrating illegally from Bangladesh.
Another 60,000 Rohingya children are languishing “almost forgotten” in disease-ridden camps inside Myanmar since being driven from their homes during violence in 2012, said UN children’s agency (UNICEF) spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said.
She told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that she spent a month in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and visited one camp where “shelters teeter on stilts above garbage and excrement” and four children died of disease within three weeks.