Myanmar Junta Chief Visits Former Dictator Than Shwe

By The Irrawaddy 21 April 2022

Myanmar coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing met with former dictator Than Shwe earlier this month, having failed to see his old boss since last year.

Sources told The Irrawaddy that Min Aung Hlaing visited Than Shwe’s residence in the capital Naypyitaw on April 3. Prior to his visit, Than Htay, the chairman of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, and other generals also met Than Shwe, who ran the military regime that oppressed Myanmar from 1992 to early 2011.

The visits by Min Aung Hlaing, Than Htay and others were likely to pay their respects to their former chief ahead of the Thingyan Water Festival, sources said. It is customary for incumbent and former senior generals to visit Than Shwe occasionally out of respect for their former leader.

During the meeting, Min Aung Hlaing is believed to have briefed Than Shwe on the current situation in Myanmar following last year’s coup. The exact details of their discussion are unknown. Previously, Than Shwe gave Min Aung Hlaing his blessing to carry out the coup.

It was the junta boss’s first visit since the middle of last year to the man who handpicked him as his successor as Commander-in-Chief. Than Shwe chose Min Aung Hlaing as his successor in 2011, the year he relinquished power, paving the way for him to stage last year’s coup and take control of the country.

At the time, many regarded Min Aung Hlaing’s failure to visit Than Shwe as a sign of overconfidence, showing that he was convinced that he could run the country without guidance from his former chief.

His visit in early April comes at a time when the coup leader is still struggling with unwavering popular resistance, including armed struggle, against his rule over a year after his putsch. At the same time, the defection rate from the Myanmar military is at an unprecedented high and unity among its soldiers is deteriorating as never seen before.

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