Reuters: Journalist arrested for investigating Rohingya Massacre

By | February 10, 2018 Leave a Comment
By Staff Writer
JAKARTA

Photo: Reuters

Reuters news agency disclosed information regarding an investigation into alleged mass murder of Rohingya Muslims by soldiers and villagers in Myanmar, which it said was the reason for the detention of its journalists.

It was said by Reuters that its two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Seo Oo, found evidence of unlawful killings of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State last year.

Both are now in custody and awaiting trial on charges of breaching Official Secrets Acts.

Now Reuters has decided to release detailed information to support claims that both journalists are digging news that has a clear public interest value.

The latest crisis began when Rohingya militants attacked a number of police stations in late August. The authorities then launched a military operation and hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to avoid violence by Myanmar's security forces and Buddhist nationalist groups in Rakhine.

The military insists it is battling the Rohingya militant group they call "Bengali terrorists", but according to human rights organizations, thousands of civilians have been killed.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo has investigated the events that took place at Inn Din Village, northern Rakhine, on September 2, 2017.

It was said by Reuters that two journalists gathered evidence on the alleged execution of 10 men based on interviews with Buddhist villagers, security personnel and photographs.

According to Reuters, a group of Rohingya men hiding on the beach were targeted when their village was raided.

The Buddhist people of the village were then ordered to dig the grave and 10 of the Rohingyas were killed. At least two people were hacked to death by villagers, while the rest were shot by soldiers.

Reuters said that this is the first time the army alleagedly involved with proof photos and information from fellow security personnel. Reuters also claimed to have testimonies from local Buddhists.

Both journalist were arrested on December 12, 2017 after meeting with some police and getting documents from them.

Authorities said they were "arrested for holding important government documents and secrets related to Rakhine State and the security forces"and that information was "illegally obtained with the intention of being distributed to foreign media".

After two journalists were arrested, the Myanmar military conducted its own investigation into the incident. The investigation endorsed what two Reuters reporters discovered that there had been an execution.

But the military called the 10 Rohingya men "Bengali terrorists".

Reuters claims its reporters found no evidence that the 10 men were linked to terrorism. Eyewitnesses said the 10 men were taken from the crowd.

Accroding to Reuters, the two journalists spoke with eyewitnesses at Inn Din Village, police and relatives of the murdered people - who are now in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

One man confessed to killing a Rohingya Muslim, said Reuters.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay told Reuters that "We are not denying the allegations about violations of human rights."

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

"And then if we found the evidence is true and the violations are there, we will take the necessary action according to our existing law."

He defended the military operation in Rakhine. "The international community needs to understand who did the first terrorist attacks. If that kind of terrorist attack took place in European countries, in the United States, in London, New York, Washington, what would the media say?"

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