TWO Reuters journalists detained for two months by Myanmar authorities were arrested over their investigation of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men, the news agency said in a report that detailed the grisly killings.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were charged with illegal possession of state secrets while reporting on the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Rakhine state.
Their bylines are on the report, which disputes key details of the Myanmar military's own account of the killings.
A Myanmar government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
"We've been bystanders to a genocide", she said.
In what global observers including the United Nations have said amounts to ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar military and militias have since driven out hundreds of thousands of the country's Rohingya minority in a campaign of killings, burning and rape.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed last month to repatriate the Rohingya over a period of two years, but the United Nations has expressed concerns after its refugee agency, the UNHCR, was kept out of the agreement. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) told the AP, which last week confirmed the presence of at least five mass graves filled with Rohingya bodies in Myanmar.More news: Celebrity Big Brother Spoilers: Omarosa Calls Chuck Liddell Her Insurance Policy
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If enacted into law, the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act will ban certain forms of military cooperation with the Myanmar military until the U.S. State and Defense departments certify that officials have ended the violence. It said a decision was made to kill them because there was no opportunity to take them to a police station.
The report details the days leading up to the massacre as military operations destroy communities of Rohingya in Inn Din, the fishing village where the events occurred, and draws on Buddhist and Muslim witnesses who recount the military commanders' orders to "go and clear" inhabited by Rohingyas.
Some human rights groups have managed to document the horrific abuses suffered by the Rohingya, and satellite images have shown hundreds of Rohingya villages being burned to the ground - incidents which casts doubt on a repatriation agreement signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh.
"If they have a place to live, if they have food to eat, they can carry out more attacks", an anonymous police officer told Reuters.
According to interviews with newly-arrived refugees in Bangladesh, a campaign of starvation, looting and abductions by the Myanmar military in December and January drove dozens of Rohingya from their homes.
In additionto ongoing massacres, rapes and the wholesale destruction of villages by the Myanmar military in western Rakhine state that has forced almost 750,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, the food supply now appears to be another weapon that's being used against the dwindling numbers of Rohingya.
Adler has saidpublic pressure on the Myanmar government was needed to ensure the two journalists were spared a long prison sentence. "Once we understood their legal situation, we, in consultation with Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their relatives, decided (to publish)", he said.