Sniper shoots dead Myanmar brigadier-general in helicopter

Four members of the Myanmar security services including a brigadier-general were shot dead by sniper fire on Monday as their helicopter prepared to land, a military source told AFP, AFP reports.

Brigadier-general Aye Min Naung, his personal security officer and two pilots were shot by a “sniper” as their helicopter prepared to land at eastern Thingannyinaung town near Myawaddy on the Thai border, the security source said.

The brigadier-general later died, the source said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to talk to the media.

Two other servicemen on the helicopter had “survived”, they added, without giving details.

The source did not say how many snipers had shot at the helicopter, or attribute blame for the shooting.

The junta has clashed regularly around Myawaddy with ethnic minority fighters and allied “People’s Defence Force” groups in recent months.

Local media published images purporting to show the aftermath of the incident that showed a small helicopter lying on its side in a field.

One local outlet said the helicopter was a twin-engined Eurocopter 365.

The brigadier-general is the latest high-ranking officer to be killed on the frontlines as the junta battles opponents of its coup across swathes of the country.

In November, the brigadier-general of a light infantry battalion was killed by a bomb dropped from a drone in Monekoe near the China border amid clashes, a military source told AFP.

Six brigadier-generals are currently in custody for surrendering with more than 2,000 troops to an alliance of ethnic minority fighters in neighbouring Kokang region.

In November a light fighter jet, carrying two pilots, crashed in the east of the country where fighting is ongoing, with anti-coup forces claiming they had shot it down.

The junta said engine failure had caused the crash.

Myanmar has been riven by conflict since the 2021 military coup, with multiple armed ethnic groups battling the junta on different fronts.

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