The Rakhine Investigation Commission said on Tuesday that evidence proves that a policeman was killed in Maungdaw Township in western Burma, but denied the mass killing of Muslim Rohingyas.
The United Nations and human rights groups have said that at least 40 Rohingyas were killed in incidents in mid-January in a restricted area of conflict-ridden northern Arakan State.
Government spokesman Ye Htut has denied there had been any mass killing, in line with statements over the past week. But information provided by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) further eroded the position of the government, which has now reacted to international pressure to conduct an investigation.
Kyaw Yin Haling, the secretary of the Rakhine Investigation team set up by the government, said the only victim killed was a police sergeant, Aung Kyaw Thein.
“The only clear evidence we have is that a police sergeant was killed. That was the only clear evidence we have managed to get,” Kyaw Yin Haling told reporters at a news conference in Rangoon.
The Minister of Home Affairs said pieces of evidence were found in three difference places.
“During the investigation, police found pieces of the uniform of the police sergeant, pieces of equipment, his boot and his M-22 magazine near the Mosque, Arabic School and the village,” said Minister of Home Affairs Lt-Gen Koko, .
Incidents in Maungdaw Township and other parts of Arakan state are difficult to verify independently as those places are off-limits to journalists, and the government strictly controls access by international aid groups.
On Friday, the United States embassy urged senior Burmese officials “to speak out publicly on the importance of respect and tolerance and to avoid speculating on the details of what took place”. It also called on the government to conduct an impartial investigation with the United Nations.
Follow DVB’s coverage of this story: