Junta appoints new head of northwestern command

The junta has appointed a new head of Northwestern Regional Command, almost three months after ousting the former commander amid heavy losses against resistance fighters in Chin and Sagaing. 

Brigadier-General Phyo Thant has been officially replaced by Major General Than Hteik as of Thursday, a source inside the military told Myanmar Now. 

Phyo Thant has now been appointed as deputy minister for border affairs, the source said. “The order just arrived today.”

Than Hteik moves into the position from his role as commander of the Kalay-based Military Operation Command No. 10, and is a graduate of the Defence Services Academy’s Batch 38, the source added. 

Phyo Thant’s removal from the role of commander was due to his “poor performance,” they said. 

There were even reports in October that Phyo Thant had been arrested after hundreds of junta soldiers under his command were killed by poorly armed resistance fighters. 

Myanmar’s police chief Lieutenant General Than Hlaing took over the role in the interim after Phyo Thant was removed. 

Phyo Thant was part of intake 23 of the military’s Officers Training Course and served as the division commander of Military Operation Command No. 4 under Yangon Regional Command until he was promoted to Northwestern Regional Command after last year’s coup.

Than Hteik and Phyo Thant are both in their early 50s.

Than Hlaing and another top military figure, Lieutenant General Tayza Kyaw, were put in charge of Operation Anawrahta, the junta’s push to crush resistance forces in upper Myanmar. 

More than 4,972 junta soldiers and police have been killed by resistance fighters across Myanmar since last February’s military coup, according to the National Unity Government. 

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