Myint Aung Dismissed, Placed Under House Arrest

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lt-Gen Myint Aung, Burma's former adjutant general, who was appointed defense minister by junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe last week, has been placed under house arrest in Naypyidaw after formally declining the ministerial position, according to sources in the Burmese capital.

“Thura” Myint Aung was thought to be in line for the position as commander-in-chief of the armed forces—a title held currently by Than Shwe—but the military junta strongman has not stepped down.

“He reportedly said that he did not want to be the defense minister under the possible new Commander-in-Chief Lt-Gen Min Aung Hlaing,” a military source said.

Myint Aung graduated from the elite Defense Services Academy (DSA) Intake 18 while Min Aung Hlaing was from DSA Intake 19; Myint Aung therefore being one year senior to Min Aung Hlaing.

Sources in Naypyidaw concur that Myint Aung was popular and respected among his peers and subordinates while Min Aung Hlaing is generally seen as “arrogant.”

Lt-Gen Ko Ko will now take over as head of the Defense Ministry, it was announced at Parliament on Wednesday.

After turning down the cabinet position last week, Myint Aung was dismissed from his role as lieutenant-general then placed under house arrest and separated from his family, a source said, adding that houses in Rangoon and Naypyidaw and a vehicle that had been provided for him have been retaken.

A businessman close to Myint Aung's family said that his family members were back home in Rangoon earlier this week, but that Myint Aung did not appear.

Along with more than one dozen senior military officials, such as Gen Shwe Mann, Gen Tin Aung Myint Oo, Lt-Gen Tin Aye and Lt-Gen Ko Ko, 55-year-old Myint Aung was removed from his military position in late August.

However, Myint Aung, Ko Ko and some others continued to serve in military uniform while Shwe Mann, Tin Aung Myint Oo and Tin Aye shed their uniforms to take part in November's general elections.

At the time, rumors from Naypyidaw suggested that Than Shwe favored Myint Aung and Ko Ko to succeed him and and his deputy, Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, respectively.

Myint Aung’s last public appearance was on Nov 7 when MRTV evening news showed him and his wife voting at a polling station in Naypyidaw alongside other generals and their wives.

Under the autocratic rule of Than Shwe, the rise and fall of many military generals has been swift and at times seemingly arbitrary.


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