Police probe murder of 4 people in Rakhine


YANGON — Police are investigating the murder of four people in northern Rakhine State, the government said Tuesday, days after ending a military campaign in the area the UN has compared to ethnic cleansing.

The corpses of three women and a man were found buried in a field near Luuphanpyin village in Maungdaw Township last Thursday, according to the office of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“A man’s dead body was found with deep wounds in the left armpit and the head cracked open,” her office said in a statement. 

“Two of the three women had deep wounds on their backs and broken spines. The other had no (visible) internal injuries,” the statement added without detailing who the victims were. 

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

The bodies were discovered the day after the government announced the end of army “clearance operations” in the north of the ethnically divided state that were launched to find militants who attacked police posts in October.

The United Nations has said this was used as a cover for a four-month crackdown in which security forces butchered hundreds of Rohingya Muslims.

Some 73,000 of them have since fled to southern Bangladesh, bringing harrowing accounts of how troops gang-raped women, murdered babies and burnt families alive.

UN investigators who interviewed escapees say the violence is so severe it “very likely” amounted to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

For months Myanmar has curtailed access to the strip of land near the Bangladesh border and vehemently rejected similar allegations collected by rights groups and journalists. 

Since it was released this month state media has carried almost daily updates on the movements of a state-backed commission tasked with probing allegations of abuse in Rakhine.  

Critics have rejected the body, which is led by retired general turned Vice President Myint Swe and includes no Muslims, as toothless.

The UN’s top official on preventing genocide, Adama Dieng, has said it is “not a credible option” and called for an international investigation into the claims. 

Myanmar’s persecution of the more than one million Rohingya who live in Rakhine state has long drawn international criticism. 

They are loathed by most people in the Buddhist majority country, who consider them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and forced to live in conditions akin to apartheid.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar