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Myanmar’s military jet fuel supplies hit by latest US sanctions


Jun 14, 2016
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Myanmar’s military jet fuel supplies hit by latest US sanctions​

US Treasury Department sanctioned two people and six entities linked to the military regime’s atrocities, particularly its air attacks on civilians.

Military aircraft perform during a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw on March 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU

Myanmar military aircraft perform on Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw in 2015. The US Treasury announced on March 24, 2023 that sanctions designed to cut the military regime's supplies of jet fuel had been imposed on companies and individuals [File: Ye Aung Thu/AFP]

By Al Jazeera Staff
Published On 25 Mar 202325 Mar 2023

Jet fuel for Myanmar’s armed forces has been targeted in the latest sanctions imposed by the United States on the country’s military regime and crony businesses.

The US Treasury Department said on Friday that it had imposed sanctions on two people and six entities connected to Myanmar’s military, who had enabled the regime’s continuing atrocities.

Three sanctioned entities work in Myanmar’s defence sector, specifically in the importation, storage and distribution of aviation fuel for the country’s armed forces, the US Treasury said in a statement.

The sanctioned firms included: Sia Sun Group, which was previously sanctioned by Canada and the European Union, Asia Sun Trading Co Ltd, a company designated for sanctions by the UK earlier this year, and Cargo Link Petroleum Logistics Co Ltd, a transportation firm that distributes jet fuel to the military throughout Myanmar and was also designated by the UK earlier in the year, the Treasury said.

Two individuals were also sanctioned: Tun Min Latt, whom the treasury described as a close associate of the military regime’s leader, and Tun Min Latt’s wife, Win Min Soe, who is co-owner with her husband of the three business entities: Star Sapphire group of companies, Star Sapphire Trading Company Ltd, and Singapore-based Star Sapphire Group PTE Ltd.

The couple’s firms were involved with importing “military arms and equipment, including drones and aircraft parts”, and had also acted as an agent for China’s arms manufacturer Norinco, which was already sanctioned by the US, the Treasury said. Tun Min Latt was arrested in Thailand in September on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, it added.

“Burma’s military regime continues to inflict pain and suffering on its own people,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement, referring to the country by its previous name.

Atrocities perpetrated from the air​

Since seizing power in 2021, the military regime had come to rely increasingly on air attacks which had targeted civilian areas with “unguided munitions and rockets”.

“These attacks include air strikes in late 2022 on the village of Let Yet Kone in central Burma that impacted a school with children and teachers present, as well as an air strike in the northern state of Kachin that killed as many as 80 people who were attending a musical concert,” the Treasury said.

Friday’s announced sanctions were the latest by the US against firms and individuals linked to the country’s military rulers. The EU and the UK have also imposed rounds of sanctions designed to isolate the military government.

Justice for Myanmar activist group and The Sentry organisation welcomed Washington’s focus on jet fuel supplies and the imposition of sanctions on companies and individuals linked to the regime.

We “welcome the decision by the US to sanction these military cronies and call for like-minded jurisdictions, including the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, to coordinate efforts to ensure that all of the Star Sapphire entities and owners are sanctioned in each jurisdiction”, the organisations said in a joint statement.

Last month, the EU imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 16 individuals and entities in Myanmar – including its energy minister, influential businessmen and high-ranking officers – over “grave” violations of human rights in the country.

The EU also condemned widespread human rights violations carried out by the military, including sexual violence, the persecution of civil society workers, human rights activists, journalists and air raids on civilians and civilian infrastructure including schools and hospitals.
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