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Reuters says Myanmar held journalists for probing Rohingya

AFP  |  Bangkok 

Two journalists detained for two months by authorities were arrested over their investigation of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men, the agency said in a report that detailed the grisly killings.

It is the first time has publicly confirmed what nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were working on when they were arrested on December 12 on the outskirts of

The pair are now facing up to 14 years in prison on charges of possessing classified documents in violation of the colonial-era Official


Their plight has sparked global alarm over withering press freedoms in and government efforts to curb reporting in northern -- a crisis-hit region where troops are accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled the area since last August, carrying stories of atrocities at the hands of troops and vigilante groups in the Buddhist-majority country.

authorities deny the allegations but have virtually cut off northern Rakhine, barring independent media from accessing the conflict-hit areas.

On Thursday published a report describing how troops and Buddhist villagers executed 10 Rohingya men in Rakhine's Inn Dinn village on September 2, 2017 before dumping their bodies into a mass grave.

"The investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted police authorities to arrest two of the agency's reporters," the report said.

The account was based on testimony from Buddhist villagers, security officers and relatives of the slain men.

It included graphic photographs of the victims, hands bound kneeling on the floor before the killing -- and of their bodies in a pit after.

A month after the journalists' arrests, issued a rare statement admitting that security forces took part in extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya "terrorists" in Inn Din village.

The report said witnesses denied there had been any major attack from Rohingya militants before the alleged massacre.

A government could not be immediately reached for comment.

But vehemently denies systematic abuses by its security officers, despite a mounting volume of evidence pointing to atrocities.

Judges have denied bail to the two reporters during a pre-trial hearing period, despite calls for their release from human rights groups and diplomats around the globe.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 14.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 18:50 IST
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