Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Myanmar's military admitted Wednesday to killing 10 Rohingya Muslims who were recently found in a mass grave
In a statement on Facebook, Myanmar's military commander, Min Aung Hlaing, said the slain Rohingya were "Bengali terrorists" who were part of a larger group of 200 that attacked Myanmese soldiers with sticks and swords last year.
Ten Rohingya in the group were captured and executed, according to an internal investigation that was launched after a mass grave was located last month.
"Some villagers from Inn Din village and security forces confessed they killed 10 Bengali terrorists," a translation of the Facebook post said, according to Radio Free Asia. "The decision was made to kill them at a cemetery."
"The army will take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement," the statement continued. "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists."
Human right groups around the world have accused the Myanmar government of carrying out a genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority for years. The Myanmar government has consistently denied all accusations. And although Min Aung Hlaing's statement Wednesday accused the slain Rohingya of being terrorists, it was the first time his government admitted to misdeeds against the Rohingya people.
"This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army's policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing," James Gomez, Amnesty International's regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told RFA. "However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August."
Between August and September, Doctors Without Borders estimated the Myanmar government killed approximately 9,000 Rohingya, including 1,000 children under the age of 5.