YANGON – Thura San Lwin has been replaced in his role as commander of the Border Guard Police just over a month after a fresh wave of violence erupted in northern Rakhine State.
Brigadier-General Myint Toe replaced San Lwin in the role on Tuesday, BGP Colonel Oakkar Ko told Frontier by telephone today.
“Yesterday we received this order from the [Home Affairs] ministry and our new department head is taking duty today,” Oakkar Ko said, refusing to say where San Lwin had been transferred to and why he had been replaced.
San Lwin became BGP commander in the aftermath of the October 9, 2016 attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, replacing Brigadier-General Maung Maung Khin who was reportedly jailed alongside two other police officers for negligence.
At the time, Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant-General Kyaw Swe said he was “not pleased” with what had happened and had appointed someone he trusted to the role.
“He [San Lwin] has experience from fighting communist armed groups and he will be in charge of operations,” Kyaw Swe was quoted as saying by The Irrawaddy.
The security clearance operations after the October 9 attacks came with accusations of human rights abuses including mass rape, extra-judicial killings and arson.
During a meeting with journalists as part of a government-sponsored visit to Maungdaw in June, San Lwin said that the reports of violations by security forces were false and that Muslim villagers had set fire to their own homes in order to elicit sympathy from the international community. He blamed the media for reporting incorrect information.
The latest wave of violence in northern Rakhine occurred after ARSA attacked 30 police outposts and an army camp on August 25, killing about a dozen security personnel.
The crackdown has led to more than 500,000 people fleeing over the border into Bangladesh, mainly Muslims who identify as Rohingya.