SEVEN Burmese soldiers have been jailed for 10 years with hard labour for the massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men in Rakhine state last September, the military said on Tuesday.
A statement from the Tatmadaw, another name for the military, said the soldiers were also permanently expelled from the army and have had “action taken against them” for “contributing and participating in murder.”
“Four officers were denounced and permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labour at a prison in a remote area. Three soldiers of other rank were demoted to the rank of ‘private’, permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labour at a prison in a remote area,” read the military statement.
It added that legal proceedings against the police personnel and civilians “involved in the crime” were still under way.
The case resulted in a rare admission of wrongdoing by the military, who have been conducting a crackdown against the Muslim minority since August. In January, the army said the soldiers had confessed to killing the 10 Rohingya villagers and burying them in a mass grave in the coastal village of Inn Din.
The statement, posted on the Facebook page of commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, claimed the men were “terrorists” who had attacked security forces.
The massacre was being investigated by two Reuters journalists who were subsequently arrested on charges of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo remain behind bars. News of whether their case will be dismissed is expected today.
An internal military investigation into the massacre found it was unrelated to the reporters, who are accused of obtaining unrelated secret government papers.
The United Nations estimates close to 700,000 Rohingya Muslim have fled across the border to neighbouring Bangladesh since August after militant attacks triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Burma has repeatedly denied the accusations, maintaining that it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against armed terrorists who attacked government forces.
Additional reporting by Reuters