Ten corpses have been unearthed from a shallow grave inside a cemetery at the village of Inn Din in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, according to the Office of the Commander-in-Chief.
“An investigation is being carried out to uncover the truth,” said a post on the Burmese military chief’s Facebook page.
Acting on an anonymous tip-off, local authorities including the Maungdaw district administrator, police officers and local health department officials identified the site yesterday.
The 10 bodies that were exhumed have yet to be identified. No official statement has been made as to the ethnicity or nationality of the victims.
Inn Din is an ethnically mixed village of Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists; but in what was allegedly a systematic series of attacks by Burmese security forces in September and October, Muslim houses were razed to the ground.
According to a Human Rights Watch report on 17 October: “Many villages which had both Rohingya and Rakhine residing in segregated communities, such as Inn Din and Ywet Hnyo Taung, suffered heavy arson damage from arson attacks, with known Rohingya areas burned to the ground while known Rakhine areas were left intact.”
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since security forces launched “clearance operations” aimed at rooting out Rohingya insurgents in the region, following coordinated attacks by militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police outposts, which occurred on 25 August.
The Tatmadaw [military] True News Information Team announced via its Facebook page on Wednesday that “Serious action will be taken against members of the state security forces found to have been involved” in the killing of those found in the mass grave at Inn Din.
Cited in an Associated Press report on Wednesday, Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, said, “It’s critical they [the government] accept the assistance of impartial, independent investigators and allow them to immediately travel to Inn Din to probe what happened and make a full report.”
And in a New York Times piece published on Tuesday, a possible link was drawn between the Inn Din mass grave and the arrest of two Reutersjournalists last week.
Citing a named source from the Myanmar Press Council, the New York Times said that the two reporters had obtained photographs from Inn Din residents, five of whom were subsequently arrested.
The Reuters pair – Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo – have been charged under Burma’s Official Secrets Act. They are currently in detention, although their whereabouts remain unknown.