Myanmar Soldiers Jailed for a Decade for Role in Massacre of Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar's military says it has sentenced a group of soldiers to 10 years hard labor for their role in the murder of 10 Rohingya Muslim men.

In a statement posted on the military's commander-in-chief's Facebook page, the soldiers had been punished for "contributing and participating in murder," Reuters reported. They included four officers and three non-officers.

"Four officers were denounced and permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labor at a prison in a remote area.

"Three soldiers of other rank were demoted to the rank of 'private,' permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labor at a prison in a remote area," read the military statement, adding that other legal proceedings against those linked to the crime were also under way.

Rohingya refugees walk at Jamtoli camp in the morning in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, January 22, 2018. Myanmar's military says it has sentenced seven soldiers for their part in a massacre of the Rohingya in September 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

On January 10, the military had explained the killings by saying it had responded to an attack on the security forces by the Rohingya men. But witnesses told Reuters that the victims were plucked from a nearby beach where hundreds of people had fled.

Two journalists from the news agency had been investigating the massacre in the village of Inn Dinin the north-west of the state last September, but were arrested on charges of violating the country's Official Secrets Act. They remain behind bars.

The country's government has been condemned globally over accusations it has carried out ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state. Nearly 700,000 people have fled the state and crossed into Bangladesh since August and have reported stories of mass murder, rape and torture.

A report by the United Nations special rapporteur on Myanmar in March outlined how hatred and violence against the Rohingya were being stoked up on social media.

Myanmar's military says it does not target civilians and is fighting only Rohingya militants.