Senior Myanmar Military Official Replaced in Surprise Move

By The Irrawaddy 10 January 2022

Myanmar’s military has forced the judge advocate general of the military to step down and transferred him to the reserve force, according to sources at military headquarters in Naypyitaw.

Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe will however remain the secretary of the State Administration Council, the governing body of the military regime.

The lieutenant general, who will turn 60—the retirement age in Myanmar—in May, graduated as part of the 25th intake of the Defense Services Academy (DSA) and served as the commandant of the Defense Services Technological Academy and commander of the Western Command, which overseas Rakhine State in western Myanmar. He was appointed the judge advocate general in August 2016.

Aung Lin Dwe’s transfer to the reserve force has been remarked upon by political analysts, as it is somewhat premature. Normally, high-ranking military officials are transferred to the reserve force only after they reach the retirement age.

Lt-Gen Aung Lin Dwe has been replaced as judge advocate general by Lieutenant General Myo Thant Naing, who was promoted from the rank of major general and was formerly Director-General of the Directorate of Military Recruitment, according to the sources at the military headquarters.

The Myanmar military’s inspector and auditor general Lieutenant General Min Naing was also transferred to the reserve force, according to BBC Burmese.

He was replaced by Major General Soe Min Oo, who was formerly the head of the rocket-launcher unit and was promoted to lieutenant general, according to sources. He was from the DSA’s 32nd intake.

On Jan. 6, Brigadier General Than Htike, who served on the General Staff of the Naypyitaw Military Headquarters, was named commander of the Northwestern Command. The former Northwestern commander, Major General Phyo Thant, was moved to become deputy minister of Border Affairs.

The appointment also deviates from longstanding tradition in Myanmar’s armed forces, said a striking military officer.

“Traditionally, this position is only held by those who have served as regional commanders. And they are also promoted to the rank of lieutenant general to hold the post. But Min Aung Hlaing awards his confidants ranks though they have not served as regional commanders. There is no policy [on eligibility criteria for positions] now. He has appointed someone without a solid background as the judge advocate general,” he said.

Maj-Gen Myo Thant Naing is the third military officer to hold the judge advocate general position under Min Aung Hlaing. Lieutenant General Ye Aung, the commander of Central Command, was serving as judge advocate general when Min Aung Hlaing became the military chief, and was succeeded by Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe.

In November, the Myanmar military forced into retirement Lieutenant General Sein Win and Lieutenant General Ye Aung, who served as defense and border affairs ministers respectively under the ousted National League for Democracy government from April 2015 to January 2021. They were appointed as the chairman and vice chairman of the Myanmar Veterans’ Association.

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