Myanmar general 'punished' over bombing error

YANGON - Myanmar has replaced a high-ranking air force officer, officials said yesterday, in a move seen as a response to China's anger over a stray bomb that fell in Chinese territory and killed four farmers three months ago.

Major-General Lwin Oo was replaced as the air force chief-of-staff by Brigadier-General Maung Maung Kyaw, a senior official in the President's Office told Reuters.

It is unclear when the switch happened.

Myanmar emerged from 49 years of military rule in 2011 and now has a quasi-civilian government, but high-level shifts within its military remain shrouded in secrecy and officials spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivities.

An air force officer said Lwin Oo was believed to have lost his post because of a bomb that fell on the Chinese side of the border during a campaign against rebels from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) earlier this year.

"As far as we understand, he was removed as a punishment for the air force's stray bombing on Chinese territory," the air force officer said.

Myanmar initially denied it was responsible for the bomb, but later accepted blame and apologised.

The MNDAA announced a unilateral ceasefire earlier this month.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'Myanmar general 'punished' over bombing error'. Print Edition | Subscribe