General Who Ran Rakhine Operation Still Under Investigation, Govt Says

By Htet Naing Zaw 15 March 2018

NAYPYITAW — The President’s Office on Wednesday said Major General Maung Maung Soe, the former head of the military’s Western Command, was still being investigated for his operations in northern Rakhine State.

Action had also been taken against a brigadier general of the Myanmar Police Force while other officials of varying ranks were being investigated, U Zaw Htay, the office’s director general, said at a press conference in Naypyitaw.

“The Tatmadaw has taken action against a military commander and a police brigadier general in accord with military regulations and procedures in response to military operations in northern Rakhine State,” he said.

Four other military officers, two policemen and three civilians were also found to have violated the law. Of the three civilians, he added, two were still at large.

Maj-Gen Maung Maung Soe was replaced as head of the Western Command by Supply and Transport Directorate chief Brigadier General Soe Tint Naing in November, following militant attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine in August that triggered a massive military response that has sent nearly 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

The major-general was transferred to the Defense Ministry without a new assignment and placed on a reserve list.

The Tatmadaw, the common name for Myanmar’s military, gave no reason for the transfer, though it coincided with the disclosure of US plans to impose targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s military leadership. The Tatmadaw also replaced Major General Min Zaw, the director general of the Supply and Transport Directorate, with Brigadier General Zaw Lwin Oo. Maj-Gen Min Zaw was also put on the reserve list.

But U Zaw Htay refused to confirm speculation that the police brigadier general in question was Brigadier General Thura San Lwin, the chief of the border guard police force in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township.

Brig-Gen Thura San Lwin was replaced by the former chief of Mandalay Region No. 3 Security Police Command, Brigadier General Myint Toe, in October.

Brig-Gen Thura San Lwin had replaced Police Brigadier General Maung Maung Khin in the aftermath of attacks on border guard police posts in Maungdaw on October 9, 2016. Nine police officers were killed in the attacks and a large amount of ammunition was stolen.

Brig-Gen Maung Maung Khin and two other police officers were imprisoned for negligence after those attacks. The government said seven military officers and soldiers were killed during the clearance operations that followed.

The President’s Office said in February that four military officers, three soldiers, three police and six villagers were involved in the killing of 10 Muslims in Inn Din village, in Maungdaw.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.