The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has concluded an inquiry into the alleged Rohingya massacre in Maungdaw’s Duchira Dan-West village, saying it has found no solid evidence of any massacre taking place.
The MNHRC’s secretary Sitt Myaing told DVB a four-member investigation team including himself visited Duchira Dan [also written as Du Char Yar Tan] from 30 January to 3 February to investigate the alleged killing of Rohingya people in the village on two separate occasions, but found no evidence to support the allegations.
“We went to investigate allegations of incidents where eight people were killed and then 40 more on another occasion,” said Sitt Myaing. “We collected testimonies from regional to village-level meetings, including statements from Arakanese and Bengali [Rohingya] witnesses in Duchira Dan.
“In conclusion, we did not find any evidence or testimony that could prove that either of the alleged incidents took place.”
He said that conflicting numbers of Rohingyas alleged to have been killed in the incident on 13 January emerged because “news articles on the internet were based on sources in the town speculating on what happened”.
He added the investigation also found that fears and concerns continued to run deep among both Arakanese and Rohingya communities in the area.
It is alleged by several foreign media agencies that several dozen Rohingya villagers were lynched, raped and killed – the UN said it has “credible evidence” that 48 were massacred – by the police and a mob of Arakanese Buddhist villagers in a retaliatory attack following the disappearance of a police sergeant who was on patrol in Duchira Dan on 13 January.
The Burmese government has vehemently denied the allegations though it maintains the police sergeant was captured by a mob of several hundred Rohingya men and killed. State media has shown evidence of blooded clothing and equipment belonging to the police officer discarded at sites near the village.
Sitt Myaing said trust between the two communities has been further damaged by the recent incidents.
“We found that there has been an increase in suspicion between the two communities,” he said. “Both the authorities and local residents need to take steps to restore trust and harmony between each other, to be able to co-exist as before.”
The Burmese government has also rejected demands by the UN, the UK and the US for an international-assisted inquiry to be conducted into the alleged incidents.
DVB has yet to receive a response to the MNHRC statement from the UN or other related international agencies and foreign governments.
The MNHRC is a government-appointed commission set up in 2011 with 15 members comprising retired ambassadors, former government ministers and other ex-officials.
In August 2012 the Commission concluded a five-day mission to conflict-torn Kachin State by accusing the Burmese army of committing serious abuses against local civilians in the northern region.