Myanmar junta chief missing from public view after drone attack

Deputy Sr. Gen. Soe Win has not been reported in public since April 3.
By RFA Burmese
Myanmar junta chief missing from public view after drone attack Deputy Sr. Gen. Soe Win during a visit to India on Dec. 11, 2023.

A senior Myanmar military official has not been seen in public for weeks following a drone attack, leading to speculation he might have been wounded, according to a political analyst.

Junta vice chairman Soe Win, who is a deputy senior general and regularly attended meetings with the military chief,  Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, was not seen in junta media coverage of a military council meeting on agriculture and natural disasters on Monday. 

Junta media, which regularly cover such meetings, showing the high-ranking officers in attendance, has not shown pictures of Soe Win, or reported his attendance at any meetings since the drone attack in the second week of April. 

He was last seen publicly attending an army graduation ceremony in the city of Ba Htoo in Shan State on April 3, according to a  junta press release. 

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Deputy Sr. Gen. Soe Win in a National Planning Commission meeting March 21, 2024. (Myawaddy Webportal)

An anti-junta guerilla group said it had attacked the Southeast Regional Military Command headquarters in Mon State on April 8. The group, the Alpha Bats Drone Force, announced the next day that it had carried out a drone attack during a military meeting at the regional headquarters in the city of Mawlamyine, which Soe Win and other senior officials were attending. The military officials were discussing sending reinforcements to the city of Myawaddy on the Thai border, where allied rebel forces have been battling junta troops. 

Political analyst Than Soe Naing told RFA it was possible that Soe Win and other high-ranking officers were wounded in the drone attack.

“He may have been injured in a drone strike and disappeared from public view. But he did not die. There is some injury. I don’t see any changes in the commander-in-chief and deputy commander-in-chief among the military council’s members,”, he told RFA Tuesday.

However, junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun dismissed such speculation in mid-April, telling media the general was performing regular security and defense duties.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn.


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