By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER
NAY PYI TAW — Authorities have confirmed to Frontier that an investigation is underway into the village administrator who corroborated an explosive Reuters report on last year’s massacre at Inn Din.
U Maung Thein Chay, the Rakhine Buddhist administrator of the coastal village in northern Rakhine, told Reuters that soldiers and paramilitaries had worn civilian clothes to blend in with other residents before a September 2 attack that led to the burning of Inn Din’s Muslim homes and the killing of 10 Rohingya men.
Maung Thein Chay also said the commander of 8th Security Police Battalion, which supported the Tatmadaw’s 33rd Light Infantry Division in the assault, struck a deal to auction off cattle owned by Muslim villagers to Rakhine businesspeople from other parts of the state.
Both allegations were corroborated by police officers who were in Inn Din during the massacre.
Ministry of Home Affairs permanent secretary U Tin Myint told Frontier on Saturday – a day after Reuters published its report – that the administrator was being investigated. Tin Myint refused to elaborate further as he said he was “travelling”.
The office of Tatmadaw chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing last month said that an investigation had found members of the security forces participated in the massacre.
State Counsellor’s Office spokesman U Zaw Htay told Reuters on Sunday that action would be taken against seven soldiers, three police officers and six villagers as a result of the January investigation. It is unclear whether Maung Thein Chay is among the six villagers facing charges.
On December 12, prior to official confirmation of the massacre, police arrested Reuters reporters Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo after a sting operation in Yangon.
The pair remain behind bars for a trial on charges under the Official Secrets Act and face a possible 14-year prison sentence. Their defence counsel has alleged the pair were victims of entrapment and that the documents they were given by police officers immediately prior to their arrest contained information already in the public domain.