The European Rohingya Council chief on Monday called for an independent probe into the Aug. 25 mass murder of Hindu villagers as authorities unearthed 45 more bodies in the conflict-torn western Rakhine state, reports Anadolu Agency. The bodies, which included six children were discovered in three graves near Ye Baw Kya Village in the state’s Maungdaw town.
The government accuses the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of killing the Hindu villagers. However, ARSA has refuted allegations of its involvement in the mass murder of Hindu villagers to several media outlets. It has consistently denied such accusations, and on Monday a spokesman told Reuters news agency that claims of its militants killing villagers were “lies”.
The European Rohingya Council also disputes the claim, saying it remains unclear whether militants or Myanmar’s armed forces were involved in the incident.
In an e-mail to Anadolu Agency, council Chairman Hla Kyaw said: “We could not independently verify whether those Hindu villagers were actually killed by ARSA.”
He said Rohingya have been living with their fellow Hindu community members side-by-side for generations in the area.
“We don’t see any reason for ARSA to commit mass killings of Hindu villagers,” he said.
Instead, he said, Myanmar’s security forces could have been involved in the killings either “by mistake” since Rohingya Muslims look like the Hindus of the area or it could be because the military wants to create a situation where the worldwide Hindu community, including the rightwing Indian government gets pulled into the conflict.
“Blaming Rohingya has been a convenient tool for Myanmar armed forces to advance destruction of Rohingya community,” Hla Kyaw said.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Office of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, citing a Hindu community leader in Maungdaw town, claimed that “hundreds of militants” were allegedly involved in the attack on the village that killed about 100 people on Aug. 25, the same day when the group supposedly launched pre-dawn attacks on 30 police outposts along the western border with Bangladesh.
The government claims could not be verified independently since the authority blocks journalists and independent observers from freely travelling in the Rakhine state.
European Rohingya Council said the perpetrators — whether they are from ARSA or Myanmar security forces — must be brought to justice.
It urged the Myanmar government to let an independent international investigation into the mass killing of Hindu villagers as well as Rohingya villagers in northern part of Rakhine state.
“All the mass killings must be independently investigated by UN-led investigation team,” Hla Kyaw added.