Narinjara news

New Conscription for the Burmese Army

Maungdaw, 20 February: 
Forced conscriptions into the Burmese Army have been reported from Rakhine State in the western part of Burma, according to our correspondent from Maungdaw Town.

Maung Than Naing Tun (18), son of U Than Win of Bo Ba Chouk Street, Dala Town opposite Rangoon, is a secondary school matriculation student.  While he came to travel to Rakhine State, the Nasaka troops picked him up at Maungdaw Town and forced him to join the armed forces last week.  He was threatened of being arrested and jailed if he refused to join the armed service, said sources in the town.  Maung Than Naing Tun could not produce national registration card when the troops demanded as he had lost it on the way from Rangoon.  Many young visitors like him are falling prey to the Burmese junta-sponsored conscription drives in the area.  A retired judge in the area said to our correspondent that in last week alone the junta soldiers came looking for young people like Than Naing who have been caught unawares and forced into services.

In recent days there has been increased forced conscription into the armed services, resulting obviously from an alarming rise in desertion from the armed services said a source in the army.  Previously a large number of Rakhine nationals joined the army finding no job opportunity in the state and because of rampant use of forced labour and forced relocation, resulting from wholesale militarization across the state, he added. 

With shrinking sources of income, there is a rising rate of jobless people in the countryside, our correspondent said. At present the number of regulars deserting the military services has gone up due to meagre salary and poor working conditions in the barracks.    Becoming desperate, the Burmese junta have been leasing out even rivers and creeks in the state for the collection of money for the upkeep of the families of the members of the armed services.  As a knock-on effect the move has also left a huge number of fishermen, estimated at 80 percent, jobless in the state, he concluded. 

In an official order issued last month by the Nasaka border security forces Headquarters at Kyi-gan-byin, each of the nine Nasaka circles have been directed to conscript at least five people from each of the respective Nasaka circles.   The servicemen willing to go on pension have also been instructed to find two new recruits to replace them, the sources said.

In the village tracts in and around Punnagyun and Kyauktaw Townsips on the Kaladan River, army recruitment teams have already visited at least ten villages for fresh conscription, the source said.  It is hoped that the conscription drive will continue till the last village in the state is covered.   #