BANGKOK — Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called the military’s investigation into the deaths of Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave a “positive indication,” state media reported Saturday.
“It is a positive indication that we are taking the steps to be responsible,” Suu Kyi said according to the report in the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. “However, some may worry. But I believe that our investigation will prevent such things from happening again.”
Suu Kyi made the comments Friday during a joint news conference with Japan’s foreign minister. Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s foreign minister as well as the government’s de facto leader.
The military launched “clearance operations” against ethnic Rohingya in August, prompting more than 650,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing.” The U.N. and other groups accuse the military of widespread atrocities against Rohingya, including killings, rapes and the burning of homes. But the military has insisted that there has been no wrongdoing by any security forces.
On Wednesday the military acknowledged that security forces and villagers were responsible for the deaths of 10 people found in a mass grave in December. It said the 10 were “Bengali terrorists” who threatened villagers, but that the military would “take action” against those who “broke the rules of engagement.”
The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not acknowledge Royingya as a minority group even though they have lived in the country for generations. It calls them “Bengalis” and accused them of migrating illegally from Bangladesh.
Neither the military nor Suu Kyi has said what action will be taken against those responsible for the deaths linked to the mass grave in Rakhine state.