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Aung San Suu Kyi: Rohingya Mass Grave Inquiry Positive Step

Myanmar's State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the media during a joint press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Naypyitaw, Jan. 12, 2018.

Myanmar’s civilian 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.

The military, which has been accused of indiscriminate killings, rape and burning of Rohingya villages, 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 had 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 Rohingya as a minority group even though they have lived in the country for generations. It says they’re immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Since August, military operations have driven more than 650,000 Rohingya into refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh.

“It is a positive indication that we are taking the steps to be responsible,” Suu Kyi said, according to a 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.”

Aung San Suu Kyi made the comments Friday during a joint news conference with Japan’s foreign minister. Aung San Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s foreign minister as well as the government’s civilian leader, though the military has a final say in security matters.

Neither the military nor Aung San Suu Kyi has said what action will be taken against those responsible for the deaths linked to the mass grave in Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya live.