Myanmar gov't admits video shows police beating villagers

AP News
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Posted: Jan 02, 2017 7:37 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's government has vowed to take action against police officers shown beating villagers in a video that has circulated on the internet.

A front-page story on Monday in the state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper about the Nov. 5 incident was a rare official acknowledgment of abuses taking place in the western state of Rakhine. The authorities have been conducting counterinsurgency operations there since an attack in October by unidentified armed men killed nine border guards.

Human rights groups accuse security forces of abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Rakhine, including rape, killings and the burning of more than 1,000 homes. Myanmar authorities have said accounts of abuses are unhelpful exaggerations spread by foreign media.

Monday's story, which cited the office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi The country's leader — and police, did not say what punishment the police might face, only that "measures are being taken to take action against those who violated police force rules."

The story said the video clip was recorded by a police constable.

It said the "clearance operation" in the area of Maungdaw township leading to the incident began after six attackers on three motorcycles shot at 11 policemen on Nov. 3, killing one police corporal and wounding another.

The account said that police, acting on a tip, then raided a village looking for the attackers. It added that they were told that in the same village lived a man who distributed "fake information" and placards to fuel a protest there when diplomats visited on Nov. 3.

"The operation also uncovered six machetes, one knife and one spear," the story said. "Following the operation, the police released the remaining villagers and urged them to support community peace in the village."

It did not make clear how many villagers were detained or charged.