The Irrawaddy News Magazine [Covering Burma and Southeast Asia]

Regional Commanders Reshuffled
By WAI MOE Monday, July 4, 2011

In the first major development within Burma's military since it officially handed over power to a quasi-civilian administration on March 30, the War Office in Naypyidaw has reshuffled the commanders of at least six Regional Military Commands (RMCs) and filled two other important posts.

According to information leaked by military sources on Monday, the War Office, under Commander in Chief of Defense Services Gen Min Aung Hlaing, issued the reshuffle order on Friday, implementing a decision made during a triannual meeting of military commanders held in late May.

The latest reshuffle did not involve any promotions, as most of the regional commanders will simply be changing places, according to a military source.

“Brig-Gen Tin Maung Win, the commander of the Southwest RMC, will take over the Western RMC from Brig-Gen Soe Thein. Brig-Gen Tun Than will move to the Southern RMC headquarters at Taungoo, while Brig-Gen Soe Htut of the Southern RMC has been shifted to Taunggyi, the headquarters of the Eastern RMC, and Brig-Gen San Oo from Taunggyi is now the Rangoon commander,” the source said.

Two other vacant positions were also filled, although no names were available for the new appointees.

One of the positions, chief of the Bureau of Special Operations-6, was formerly held by Lt-Gen Soe Win, who became the deputy commander in chief of the defense services earlier this year. The other, chief of armed forces training, was held by Lt-Gen Hla Htay Win until he was named joint-chief of staff (army, navy, air force) on March 30.

Although Burmese military sources mentioned only half a dozen regional commanders who had changed positions, an official from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said on condition of anonymity that the KIA's intelligence indicated that 12 of the Burmese army's 14 RMC commanders had been reshuffled.

The only two exceptions, he said, were Brig-Gen Ye Aung of the Central RMC and Brig-Gen Zayar Aung of the Northern RMC, which has been engaged in sporadic clashes with the KIA since mid-June.

Although all the reshuffled commanders were informed about their new appointments two weeks ago, they did not move to their new posts until this past weekend, sources said.

All of the commanders who were affected by the recent reshuffle were promoted from commanders of light infantry divisions and commandants of military schools during a massive military reshuffle in August 2010.

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