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MYANMAR: Jailed Journalists Were Investigating Massacre

MYANMAR: Jailed Journalists Were Investigating Massacre

According to Reuters' special report, published Thursday, Myanmar soldiers detained and executed 10 Rohingya men and teenage boys with the help of local Buddhist villagers in Rakhine state's Inn Din village on September 2. "This once more attests to the need for a full and thorough investigation by the authorities of all violence in Rakhine State and attacks on the various communities there", United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

Reuters said its reconstruction of the massacre drew for the first time on interviews with Buddhist villagers who admitted torching Rohingya villages, burying bodies and killing Muslims.

In November 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson characterized Myanmar security forces' treatment of the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing.

Reuters has published an extensive report of the Myanmar massacre of 10 Rohingya men in September, pulling from photographs, documents and eyewitness accounts obtained by two Reuters journalists.

Two photos - one taken on the first day, the other on the day of the killings - show the 10 captives lined up in a row, kneeling.

The village of Inn Din was burned and looted by army, police and an informal militia, according to witnesses, before the 10 men were executed and dumped in a shallow grave.

In the story, Myanmar said its "clearance operation" is a legitimate response to attacks by insurgents.

"The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted Myanmar police authorities to arrest two of the news agency's reporters", the news agency said in the report. "And we are not giving blanket denials".

If there was "strong and reliable primary evidence" of abuses, the government would investigate, he added.

But the military says that the men were killed after a massive attack on Myanmarese troops.

Reuters' report uncovered that the 10 men on the photograph had been selected from hundreds of Rohingya men, women and children who fled the Myanmar massacre and sought safety on a beach.

Ms Yanghee Lee, the United Nations human rights investigator for Myanmar, who has been barred from visiting the Rohingya areas, echoed that call and added in a tweet: "Independent & credible investigation needed to get to the bottom of the Inn Din massacre".

Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo face up to 14 years in a Myanmar prison after being accused by the government of "illegally (acquiring) information" after gathering testimony on the alleged massacre.