Narinjara News

Increased Conscripts in the Burmese Army

Sittwe, 18
th June 03:  In the face of large numbers of deserters, the Burmese Army is confronting an acute manpower shortage.  Quoting sources in the army our correspondent said that to keep the entire military machinery running conscription has been stepped up across Rakhine State in the western part of Burma.

But people’s reluctance to join the army has caused obstacle in getting suitable number of recruits.  All the deserters of the Army in the last five/six years have been called to join the armed forces and in a strongly worded notice they have been warned that the ultimate consequence of not complying with the official order is a prison sentence for three years.

A member of the Light Infantry Battalion 430, Tun Aye who recently fled to a neighbouring country and who has deserted the army for the last four years has told our correspondent that all the deserters and those who are absent without leave have been ordered to be caught and send for immediate military duties. 

Besides that in an official statement the Western Commander also ordered the recruitment for the army to be carried out according to the following method, beginning June 03:
1.  Each of the headquarters of the different defence forces in the state has to conscript at least two every month.
2. Each battalion stationed across the state has to recruit at least two new recruits every month.
3.  Each of the companies has to recruit at least one person every month.

The non-compliance of the above official direction would entail fines and the responsible officials in the armed forces would face drastic measures, the official order said.

Previously the conscription was made through office orders issued to the village tracts for the supply of conscripts.  Every village was compulsorily ordered to provide the necessary number of recruits, and the non-compliance always meant trouble and fines for the villages.  With the new orders in force from June the villagers are once again at a loss, fearing the forced conscription orders that were withdrawn at the pressure from the international communities to be placed once again.   Like before the villagers are apprehensive of the fact that the new order would make their lives miserable once again since the army men would come for large sum of bribes if they fail to comply with the demands for new recruits, A village headman from border town said. 

Tun Aye also said that the corruption and whimsical rules by the top brass of the armed forces are much to blame for the large-scale desertion of the army, as they create miseries and dissatisfaction among the rank and file.  #