Military Major’s Wife Killed in Explosion in N. Rakhine

By Moe Myint 26 February 2019

YANGON—The wife of a Myanmar military major, Maj. Kyaw Swar, who had recently arrived in strife-torn northern Rakhine State’s Buthidaung Township, was killed in an explosion at their home on Tuesday morning.

Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun, spokesperson for the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, confirmed the death of the major’s wife to The Irrawaddy over the phone. He identified the victim as Nan Moh Moh Zaw and explained that Maj. Kyaw Swar was recently transferred from Naypyidaw to northern Rakhine’s Buthidaung where he is assigned to the military’s No.15 Operational Command.

The couple transported their belongings in a private vehicle while they travelled in another car from Naypyidaw to Buthidaung on Monday. On the way to Buthidaung, the truck carrying their belongings was stopped by two men in Rathedaung. Another six men in plain clothes searched the vehicle.

The spokesperson assumed that those people discreetly planted an explosive device in their belongings. On arriving at the major’s new home, staff unloaded the items without incident. When his wife was checking their belongings, the device detonated unexpectedly and she was killed on the spot.

“The bomb exploded at home while Maj. Kyaw Swar was on duty in the office,” said Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun.

AA spokesman U Khine Thukha said the armed group had nothing to do with the incident as it happened inside a military compound and was likely the result of a dispute among soldiers.

“This is their internal problem but they accused the AA, which is a completely baseless accusation,” he said.

The incident went viral on Facebook, especially among military supporters. One Facebook user Han Nyein Oo wrote a status with a photo of the couple on their wedding day alongside two stock images of letter bombs with which he claimed the attack was carried out by the Arakan Army (AA). Some countered his accusation saying it could have been the driver or a staff member who planted the bomb. So far, their accusations lack consistency and no solid proof has been found.

Meanwhile, some Buthidaung locals and AA supporters also posted on Facebook claiming that both the husband and wife were shot dead due to an internal conflict in the military compound. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify their claims.

According to Maj. Kyaw Swar’s Facebook profile, the couple recently celebrated their wedding ceremony elsewhere in Myanmar. Both Maj. Kyaw Swar and his wife Nan Moh Moh Zaw uploaded photos of their wedding day on Feb. 9.

The death comes just days after a Myanmar military major Maj. Aung Ko Nyein was killed in a battle with the Arakan Army in northern Rakhine State.

This article was updated to include comment from the AA.