Myanmar junta recruits thousands of soldiers: report

The latest batch includes 4,000 men training in 16 centers across the country.
By RFA Burmese
Myanmar junta recruits thousands of soldiers: report Soldiers attend military service training as part of the second round of recruitment efforts on May 28, 2024.
Telegram: Pyi Thu Sitt

Myanmar’s junta has recruited nearly 4,000 men nationwide in its latest round of conscription as it seeks to reinforce the ranks of its army in the face of battlefield setbacks to insurgents battling to end military rule, a nonprofit group said. 

Under the People’s Military Service Law, enacted by the junta in February,  men between the ages of 18 and 45 can be conscripted. The announcement has triggered a wave of killings of administrators enforcing the law and driven thousands of draft dodgers into neighboring Thailand. 

A new round of conscriptions was undertaken in mid-April, according to the analysis and data group Burma Affairs and Conflict Study. Training for the nearly 4,000 new recruits began on May 14 in 16 schools across the country, the group said in a release on Wednesday. 

One mother was relieved that her two sons were not selected in a raffle system used for the recruitment. She said all families with military aged men had to pay 10,000 kyats (US$ 2) to support the recruits.

“I’m so worried that my sons will be picked in the next round,” she told RFA on Friday. The woman declined to be identified.

About 5,000 people were recruited in the first round of conscription in early April, which brings the total number to about 9,000, according to the research group. 

Spokesmen for the junta were not immediately available for comment on Friday but they said in state-backed media during the first round of recruitment that people were not being forced to join and only volunteers were allowed to begin training. 

However, civilians reported mass arrests of young people in the Ayeyarwady and Bago regions, as well as village quotas that included adolescents and threats to burn residents’ houses down if recruits did not come forward.

Senior junta official Gen. Maung Maung Aye, who is in charge of the national recruitment drive, said at a meeting in the capital of Naypyidaw on May 20 that the second round of recruitment had begun successfully.

Those who failed to attend would  be dealt with according to the law, he said.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn. 




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