Myanmar Junta Chief Demands Unity as Secrets Continue to Leak

By The Irrawaddy 17 October 2022

In recent visits to Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region and Mawlamyine in Mon State, Myanmar’s regime leader Min Aung Hlaing repeatedly called for unity as his personnel continue to leak confidential information.

On Sunday, Min Aung Hlaing discussed military training with the chief of the general staff and the heads of the navy and air force and commandants of the defense services academies in Pyin Oo Lwin where he highlighted the importance of information security.

A sense of urgency was noticeable in his voice.

He called on instructors to make sure trainees have information-security awareness and warned against the use of harmful online activities.

He then immediately left for Mawlamyine, near the Golden Rock Pagoda, where junta troops were attacked on October 12, and met officers, other ranks and their families.

He called for unity within and urged soldiers and their families to keep information safe. He said “unity within” 14 times, suggesting deep concerns and growing disunity.

His concerns are reasonable. Confidential information about his meetings, troop movements and his planned trips are leaked to the independent media.

The regime is issuing orders by phone instead of sending telegrams. But information is still leaking.

Min Aung Hlaing recently canceled trips after details leaked on social media.

Leaks are also frequently costing soldiers’ lives.

Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun in March admitted the armed forces contained “watermelons”: green on the outside but National League for Democracy red on the inside.

More than 3,000 personnel have deserted since the February 2021 coup, according to People’s Embrace, a group formed by defectors.

The ranks are also being depleted by daily clashes across the country and the regime is struggling to recruit both officer cadets and privates.

The regime has been forced to use police and veteran soldiers in combat roles and to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Min Aung Hlaing’s repeated calls for unity only serve to highlight ever-growing divides.