Naypyidaw: The Myanmar Army has shot dead six detainees at a village school in Rakhine state ‘for trying to grab soldiers’ weapons’.
A spokesman of the Army confirmed the incident, saying those detained were being questioned for links to the rebels of the Arkanan Army, who are ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, the BBC reported on Friday.
More than 30,000 Buddhist civilians have been displaced in the latest fighting between national forces and the rebels, the report said.
While a lot of attention in recent years has been on the exodus of the Muslim Rohingya to Bangladesh, other ethnic minorities also clash frequently with the Myanmar military.
Journalists and most aid agencies are banned from northern Rakhine and it is not clear what exactly happened on Thursday morning, according to the BBC. The impoverished state of Rakhine in western Myanmar has seen years of fighting and unrest.
According to Army spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, shots were fired early Thursday when the detainees tried to ‘attack the security forces’. He claimed soldiers had no option but to shoot.
Since 2016, Rakhine has also seen the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims. The UN believes the Myanmar Army may have committed war crimes against the Rohingya — a charge it denies.
The Myanmar government and military, however, had rejected the conclusions of a special UN commission, which said in a report last year that the military campaign — which killed an undetermined number of Rohingya and forced the exodus of over 738,000 members of the community to Bangladesh — showed elements of genocide and ethnic cleansing.