Aisha Belum sits in the shelter she shares with six other people at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, 11 December 2017 (issued 11 January 2018). The family share their modest bamboo tarp shelter with six others. They have been living in the refugee camp since October 2017 after a treacherous journey by foot through the jungles to escape their Myanmar village which was burnt down as part of a military crackdown. More than 646,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh, following the Myanmar army's August crackdown on Rohingya rebels in the state of Rakhine. EPA-EFE

YANGON: Myanmar security forces took part in a massacre of 10 Rohingya in September, the army chief's office said Wednesday, as it admitted for the first time abuses during a crackdown that sparked a mass exodus of the Muslim minority.

The massacre took place on Sept 2 in the village of Inn Din in Rakhine state, the Facebook posting said, as tensions escalated pitting Rohingya against security forces and ethnic Rakhine locals following the killing of a Rakhine man.

"Some villagers from Inn Din village and security members confessed they killed 10 Bengali terrorists," the office said in its post, using a pejorative term for Rohingya and blaming militants for causing the unrest in the village.

The post also gave the first confirmation of a mass Rohingya grave inside Rakhine state following an army crackdown on militants from the minority group.

In its account, the office said security forces captured 10 Rohingya militants before killing them as violence engulfed Inn Din village and its surrounding area.

"The decision was made to kill them at a cemetery," the post added.

Refugees who have fled in their hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh have given consistent accounts of massacres by Myanmar security forces flanked by ethnic Rakhine mobs.

Those allegations, which have been cross-checked by media and rights groups, have seen Myanmar accused of ethnic cleansing by the US and UN and prompted questions over whether the army crackdown may have amounted to genocide.

But Myanmar's army has until now staunchly rebutted allegations of misconduct, clearing itself of any wrongdoing in an internal probe. – AFP

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