Twitter suspends Tatmadaw chief’s account, says newspaper

By FRONTIER

YANGON — The Twitter account of Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has been suspended over complaints he used the social media platform to spread hate speech, the Guardian reported on May 16.

The senior general’s Twitter account was taken offline this week, but had not been used in more than a year, the London newspaper’s online edition said.

The move comes after Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook account was deleted in August 2018 after a United Nations fact-finding mission that investigated human rights violations in Rakhine State and elsewhere in Myanmar called for Tatmadaw leaders to be prosecuted for genocide.

In October 2017, Min Aung Hlaing rejected accusations of abuses by the Tatmadaw during the “clearance operation” it launched in northern Rakhine State two months earlier after attacks by Rohingya militants on police posts.

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A Tatmadaw investigation also denied that “excessive force” was used in the operation, which resulted in more than 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh amid reports of extrajudicial killings, the rape of women and children and the torching of villages.

In social media posts, Min Aung Hlaing had referred to the Rohingya as “Bengalis” to imply that they were illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

He used the term at a meeting with United States ambassador, Mr Scot Marciel, in October 2017, saying, “The native place of the Bengalis is really Bengal.”

The Guardian reported that the suspension came after U Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, met Twitter executives at the company’s Silicone Valley headquarters in the US last week.

“The fact that Twitter has joined Facebook in deleting his account – which he used to sow hatred and spew out his defensive propaganda – is a massive victory for the Rohingya people.” Tun Khin told the Guardian.

“Min Aung Hliang was the mastermind of the Rohingya genocide … it is crucial that Twitter now follows through in deleting other accounts used by the regime for the same purpose,” he said.

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