Myanmar military reshuffle

Yangon, September 22:

The secretive leader of Myanmar’s long-ruling military junta has handed control of the armed forces to one of his deputies but will remain head of state, sources close to the military said today.

Than Shwe, 73, gave up his role as commander-in-chief to his protege Shwe Mann, the joint

chief of staff, in the first shake-up of the top levels of military command here in more than a decade.

The move comes amid mounting international pressure on the regime over its slow progress on democratic reforms. The sources said the military’s number two, Maung Aye, also handed over his position to a regional commander.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. But when pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in 1988, the current military junta seized control and crushed the uprising.