The Irrawaddy

Photos of Than Shwe’s Ex-Generals Gathering Taken Last Year

A photo that went viral online showing retired Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s meeting with ex-generals. (Photo: Aung Kyaw Soe / Facebook)

NAYPYIDAW — Photos that went viral on Monday showing retired Snr-Gen Than Shwe meeting former senior military officers on Burma’s Armed Forces Day are in fact not this year’s photos, but are from 2016.

The man with white hair and glasses in the photo—seated, second from left—is retired Gen Aung Khin. He reportedly could not attend this year’s Armed Forces Day commemorations in Naypyidaw because of his failing health. His son, however, shared the old photos on social media in an effort to console him.

“I felt sad as my dad could not attend Armed Forces Day because of his health. So, I posted [old photos] so that I could read [my dad’s] friends’ wishes in the comments to my dad, and make him happy,” U Aung Kyaw Soe, joint secretary of Myanmar Rice Millers Association (Central) told The Irrawaddy.

U Aung Kyaw Soe said that he took those photos on last year’s Armed Forces Day, and that ex-generals annually gathered on the occasion, which falls on March 27, to reminisce together. He also said that close associates had met U Than Shwe this year.

In the photos are men who were in the same Defense Services Academy batch as the retired senior general, as well as his close aides, and former chiefs of the army, navy and air force. The photos went viral after being posted on the Facebook page of U Aung Paing Min, the leader of philanthropic association Shwe Pyi Taw Tho Sone Hmat.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko