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Myanmar minister orders Rohingya to leave no man's land

14 February 2018

"If the Rohingya refuse the proposal put forward by the Myanmar government through this delegation, it will not bode well for the Rohingya living in no man's land", said the minister through a translator.

The killings of 10 Rohingya men occurred in the village of Inn Din in September past year and the bodies were buried in a mass grave after they were hacked to death or shot and killed by Buddhist neighbours and Myanmar soldiers.

In Bangladesh, Johnson said he would discuss with Myanmar government how to ease the refugees return to their homes safely.

The arrests were "not because of Reuters news".

"Action according to the law" will be taken against seven soldiers, three policemen, and six villagers as part of an army investigation, said government spokesman Zaw Htay on Sunday. Buddhist villagers attacked some of them with swords and soldiers shot the others dead, the military said, adding that it would take action against those involved.

But the military's version of events was contradicted by accounts given to Reuters news agency by Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim witnesses.

Buddhist villagers reported no attack by a large number of insurgents on security forces in Inn Din.

His visit comes at a critical time when Myanmar is grappling to resolve the fate of about 650,000 Muslim refugees who fled to Bangladesh from northern Rakhine State in the wake of a wave of violence that started on August 25 previous year.

Two of the journalists working on the report, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo (pictured top), 27, were arrested in December on charges of violating Myanmar's official secrets act.

A spokesperson for Reuters said at the time: "Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are journalists who perform a crucial role in shedding light on issues of global interest. And we are not giving blanket denials".

Around 688,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh over the last five months, escaping violence in Myanmar amid accusations against the Army of ethnic cleansing and human rights violations.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Monday with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and officials to discuss neighboring Myanmar's persecution of ethnic Rohingya Muslims and plans for elections in Thailand to end military rule.

Johnson urged Burmese leader Suu Kyi to allow the UN's refugee agency to help Rohingya refugees return to the Rakhine state on Sunday, following the violent crackdown last August. Myanmar denies that and says its security forces mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations.

Both male community representatives and members of IOM's women support groups who attended the meeting, hosted at an IOM site management centre, told Johnson they wanted to return to Myanmar, but only if conditions were safe.

Myanmar minister orders Rohingya to leave no man's land