Asia-Pacific

Seven Myanmar soldiers jailed over Rohingya killings

Seven soldiers have been sentenced to jail over the killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men last year. Source: AAP

Myanmar says it has sentenced seven soldiers to 10 years in prison for participating in a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men last September.

Seven Myanmar soldiers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour in a remote area, for participating in a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men in a village in northwestern Rakhine state last September.

The military said in a statement published on Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing's office Facebook page that seven soldiers have had action taken against them for "contributing and participating in murder".

Mass graves in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin.
Mass graves in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin.
AAP

The massacre was being investigated by two Reuters journalists - Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 - who were subsequently arrested in December and are still behind bars facing charges of violating the country's Official Secrets Act.

The Rohingya men from the northern Rakhine village of Inn Din were buried in a mass grave in early September after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbours and soldiers.

The murders were part of a larger army crackdown on the Rohingya, beset by allegations of murder, rape, arson and looting, unleashed in response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces in late August. The United Nations and the United States described it as ethnic cleansing - an accusation which Myanmar denies.

"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" read the military statement.

"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."

It added legal proceedings against police personnel and civilians "involved in the crime" are still under way.

The military previously said the 10 Rohingya men belonged to a group of 200 militants who had attacked security forces, but this version of events is contradicted by accounts given to Reuters by Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim witnesses.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state and crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, creating one of the world's largest refugee camps.

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