Myanmar Junta Sentenced Six Army Generals To Death For Surrendering, Junta Hunts Officers Who Deserted Their Post And Escaped To Bangladesh

Brigadier General Tun Tun Myint, the acting Chief of Kokang self-administered zone(left) and Brigadier General Moe Kyaw Thu, the Chief of the Laukkai

Myanmar’s Junta reports that it sentenced six army generals to death for their surrender this month of a regional military command headquarters on the border with China to an alliance of ethnic armed groups.

The generals were the key officers involved in the surrender of the headquarters in Laukkaing, a city in northern Shan state that had been a major target of the Three Brotherhood Alliance comprising the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army.

Laukkaing’s fall was the biggest defeat suffered by Myanmar’s military government since the alliance’s offensive was launched last October, underlining the pressure the military government is under as it battles pro-democracy guerrillas and other ethnic minority armed groups.

Fighters from Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

Myanmar’s regime has handed death sentences to three brigadier generals who surrendered to the Brotherhood Alliance at Laukkai in northern Shan State. The other three brigadier generals have been jailed for life, according to junta sources.

On January 4, almost 2,400 regime troops, including more than 200 officers surrendered to the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in Kokang on the Chinese border.

The armed resistance began after the army used deadly force to suppress peaceful protests against its seizure of power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

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Independent media had reported that the six generals were put under investigation in the capital, Naypyitaw, after Laukkaing’s fall to the alliance. They had been sent back to territory still under the control of the military.

The independent media sympathetic to Myanmar’s anti-military resistance movement, including the online sites of Khit Thit and The Irrawaddy, reported Tuesday that three generals had been sentenced to death and three others to life imprisonment.

But the army’s press office, responding Tuesday to inquiries from journalists, denied the generals had received such sentences, calling the reports untrue.

The BBC’s Burmese language service on Wednesday reported that three top officers had been sentenced to death, but only one of them, Brig. Gen. Tun Tun Myint, had been on other media’s lists of those condemned to death. The other two included a colonel.

The BBC said its news came from the military office in Naypyitaw, a source close to the military legal office and sources close to the generals’ family members.

Tun Tun Myint had been appointed acting chairman of the Kokang administrative body, of which Laukkaing is the capital, during the initial stages of the alliance’s offensive.

According to Myanmar’s Defense Services Act, any person who “shamefully abandons, or delivers up any garrison, fortress, post, place, ship or guard committed to his charge” shall be punished with death.

The act also says anyone who “shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, tools, or equipment or misbehaves in such manner as to show cowardice in the presence of the enemy” faces the same penalty.

The Three Brotherhood Alliance announced after the fall of Laukkaing that 2,389 military personnel, including six brigadier generals, and their family members had surrendered and the Kokang region had become a “Military Council-free area,” referring to Myanmar’s ruling junta.

Myanmar military government spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun told pro-army media a day after Laukkaing’s fall that its local commanders relinquished control of the city after considering many factors including the safety of family members and of soldiers stationed there.

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