General involved in Rohingya crackdown fired after EU sanctions

Myanmar’s military has fired a top general who was named in a fresh European Union sanctions against security officials accused of serious rights violations against the Rohingya minority, including killings and sexual violence.
The military, also referred to as Tatmadaw, announced late on Monday in a Facebook post that Major General Maung Maung Soe, the former head of the western command in Rakhine, had been “purged” for poor performance.
Since August last year, more than 700,000 Muslim-majority Rohingya have been forced to flee Rakhine state after military launched security operation against one of the most persecuted cummunities in the world.
The army said the operation was in response to deadly attacks carried out by an armed Rohingya group.
The announcement came after the EU said Soe was among seven security officials hit with travel bans and asset freezes, but Myanmar did not link his sacking to the new sanctions.
The Facebook post said Soe was first reassigned last November, and that his removal from his position in the western command was to “inspect his responsibility over his weakness while working for Rakhine state stability”.
The brutal military operation has forced tens of thousands of Rohingya to take refuge in the neighbouring Bangladesh, in what the United Nations said amounts to “ethnic cleansing”.
The government has come under fire for taking little punitive action against the military, which has maintained its troops were responding to attacks by Rohingya armed groups.
Soe was among the target of US sanctions last year over the Rohingya crisis.
The government statement also said that Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw – commander of the bureau of special operations and also on the EU list – was permitted to resign in May for health reasons and “weakness in serving duty”.
The latest development comes also comes just a day after Canada announced it was imposing sanctions against the same seven figures named by the EU.