Japan urges Suu Kyi to make sure Rohingya's secure return

Rohingya refugees who suffer from diphtheria are being treated at a Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic near Cox's Bazar Bangladesh Dec 18 2017. Reuters

Japan urges Suu Kyi to make sure Rohingya's secure return

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday to ensure the "safe and voluntary repatriation and resettlement" of members of the Rohingya ethnic group who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's strife-torn Rakhine state.

The request comes after Myanmar military admitted that some of its soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 captured Rohingya men in western Rakhine state in September previous year and buried them in a mass grave near Inn Din village in Maungdaw township.

Many refugees start at transit centres set up along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border before they are brought to the main refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.

Kono's three-day visit to Myanmar includes travelling to Rakhine state.

A statement Wednesday on the military commander-in-chief's page said the Rohingya found in the mass grave had threatened Buddhist villagers and were killed in retaliation.

On August 25, hundreds of ARSA militants had attacked some 30 security posts in Rakhine leading to a violent response from the army.

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"We have already said it is very hard to segregate who is a terrorist and who are innocent villagers", spokesman Zaw Htay said.

Aung San Suu Kyi thanked Japan for its support after the country announced on Friday it would give a total of 23 million dollars, subject to parliamentary approval, for rehabilitation of refugees and improving humanitarian conditions in Rakhine State.

Soldiers and local residents from the majority Buddhist community had killed 10 members of the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority community, believing them to be members of the rebel Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, according to a statement released by the commission charged with investigating the crime. "I see it that way because a country needs to take responsibility for the rule of law in the country, and this is the first step on the road of taking responsibility and it is a positive thing".

More than 600,000 Rohingya, who are not recognised by the Myanmar government as one of the country's many ethnic groups, have fled to Bangladesh since August a year ago, when violence between armed Rohingya and Myanmar security forces prompted a severe crackdown.

The UN and USA have accused Myanmar's army of ethnic cleansing, with the UN rights chief saying it may even be guilty of genocide.

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