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The office of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing confirmed Wednesday that security forces took part in killing "Bengali terrorists" on September 2 in the village of Inn Din in Maungdaw, using a pejorative term for Rohingya.

The pair have widely covered the military campaign in Rakhine although Reuters has declined to comment on whether they were specifically reporting on the mass grave in Inn Din.

Associated Press reported a statement made on the military commander's official Facebook page on 10 January in which he described the dead as "Bengali terrorists". The army, which is not under the control of the civilian government, launched a sweeping counteroffensive in northern Rakhine in response to Rohingya militant attacks on 25 August, triggering an exodus of more than 650,000 Rohingya villagers to Bangladesh.

"Action will be taken according to the law against villagers who were involved and security members who broke the Rules of Engagement", the post added.

The head of Myanmar's government and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to recognize the crimes committed against the Rohingya people, denying charges of "ethnic cleansing".

The military announced on Dec 18 that a mass grave containing 10 bodies had been found at the coastal village of Inn Din, about 50 km north of the state capital Sittwe.


Human right groups around the world have accused the Myanmar government of carrying out a genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority for years.

The Rohingya people have been previously targeted during 1999 and 2012, and the Karenni people suffered a similar fate when their villages were burned and they faced massive killings that forced them to flee to Thailand. But the military has insisted that there has been no wrongdoing by any security forces. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has no control over the military, but has faced fierce global criticism for failing to do more to protect the Rohingya.

Four members of the security forces also opened fire.

The rights group Amnesty International said the statement from the military was "a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing". "However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August".

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But the prosecutor said that "flight attendants did not report that anyone asked them to change seats other than the victim". Ramamoorthy's wife had at this point walked up to the back of the plane to inquire into the incident, the attendants added.