Myanmar authorities opened an investigation into the abuse of Rohingya Muslims by security forces after a video showing police officers beating and kicking villagers went viral over the weekend, state media reported.
The selfie-style film was shot by a member of the border guard police on November 5 during “clearance operations” in Kotankauk village, northern Rakhine state, the state counsellor’s office said in a press release cited in state media.
Three officers responsible for beating villagers were identified and more were under investigation, the press release said.
“Now, according to the initial reports, three police officers were detained,” Zaw Htay, chief government spokesperson, told DPA news agency on Monday. “We have rules and regulations for police … They will be punished according to that police law.”
The video, which contains images some viewers may find distressing, shows police hitting a young boy around the head as he walks to where dozens of villagers are lined up in rows seated on the ground, hands behind their heads.
Three officers in uniform then start attacking one of the sitting men, beating him with a stick and kicking him repeatedly in the face.
A Rohingya activist contacted by AFP news agency said the footage had been verified by a refugee from the nearby camp, Shilkhali.
Myanmar security forces have been accused of extreme violence during security sweeps of villages throughout northern Rakhine, near the country’s western border, following deadly attacks on police in October.
Thousands of Rohingya have since fled across the border into Bangladesh.