Over 80 Myanmar Military-Owned Telecom Towers Destroyed Nationwide

By The Irrawaddy 13 September 2021

More than 80 telecom towers owned in a joint venture between the Myanmar military and Vietnam’s Defence Ministry have been destroyed by civilian resistance forces across the country.

Targeting of Mytel telecom masts has accelerated since last week, when the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) declared a nationwide people’s defensive war against the military regime. In his call for war, the NUG’s acting president Duwa Lashila encouraged citizens to “target the military junta and its assets in their respective areas”.

At least 14 telecom towers belonging to Mytel, one of four telecom operators in Myanmar, were destroyed by last Thursday.

On Saturday, the junta announced that there had been 68 attempts to destroy or torch telecom towers across the country up to Thursday. But the regime didn’t specify the owner or operator of the masts targeted.

On Friday, seven Mytel towers in Sagaing Region were destroyed, according to local People’s Defence Forces (PDF) who claimed responsibility for the attacks.  Nine more were destroyed over the weekend in Magwe and Yangon Region, local PDF’s and residents said. Along with the 68 previous attacks, that totals 84 masts that have been destroyed or targeted.

Myanmar people have been boycotting Mytel services since the February 1 coup in protest at the military takeover. Mytel offices and telecom towers were first targeted in early April in response to the regime’s brutal crackdowns on peaceful anti-coup protesters.

Mytel is a joint venture that involves a number of companies, including the government-owned Star High Public Co Ltd, which is run by the Myanmar military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation, Myanmar National Telecom Holding (MNTH) Public Ltd, a consortium compromising 11 companies, and the Vietnamese telecom company Viettel, a Hanoi-based state-owned enterprise operated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence.

Viettel owns a 49 percent stake in the joint venture, while MNTH has a 23 percent stake. Star High Public Co Ltd holds a 28 percent stake.

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