Deserters Say They Were Told to 'Shoot All You See'

Myanmar soldiers admit taking part in atroccities against Rohingya
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2020 2:43 PM CDT
Myanmar Soldiers Admit Taking Part in Atrocities
In this Sept. 7, 2017 photo, houses are on fire in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar.   (AP Photo, File)

Two soldiers who deserted from Myanmar’s army have testified on video that they were instructed by commanding officers to "shoot all that you see and that you hear" in villages where minority Rohingya Muslims lived, a human rights group said Tuesday. The comments appear to be the first public confession by soldiers of involvement in army-directed massacres, rape, and other crimes against Rohingya in the Buddhist-majority country, and the group Fortify Rights suggested they could provide important evidence for an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court, the AP reports. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since Aug. 2017 to escape what Myanmar’s military called a clearance campaign following an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group in Rakhine state

Myanmar's government has denied accusations that security forces committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes. Fortify Rights, which focuses on Myanmar, said the two army privates fled the country last month and are believed to be in the custody of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, which is examining the violence against the Rohingya. According to Fortify Rights, privates Myo Win Tun, 33, and Zaw Naing Tun, 30, who served in separate light infantry battalions, gave "the names and ranks of 19 direct perpetrators from the Myanmar army, including themselves, as well as six senior commanders ... they claim ordered or contributed to atrocity crimes against Rohingya."

(More Myanmar stories.)

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