Narinjara news

Forced Conscription in Western Burma

Teknaf, 17 Jul. 03: 
Fresh forced conscription into the Burmese Army has been reported from various townships of Rakhine State in the western part of Burma.  Maung Tun Yein (17) who fled and crossed the border to Bangladesh said that Light Infantry Battalion 538, at Rathedaung Town, about thirty miles north of Sittwe  the state capital, has been conducting fresh conscription in and near his township. 

He hails from Kodan-gauk village in the southern part of Maungdaw Township close to the Bangladesh border.  Sergeant Major Thaung Myint, Sergeant Tun Yein, and Sgt Soe Tin of LIB 538 came to Kodan-gauk village on 11th July 03 and forced the village chairman to collect villagers for conscription to the army.

Reports from other parts of the western Burmese state also confirm that though each of the Burmese army battalions is supposed to have seven hundred members, there are only 150 to 200 members in average in each of the nearly sixty battalions across Rakhine State.  The Burmese Army has been desperately trying to fill up the gap, Tun Yein said.

Maung Tun Yein said that people are now most reluctant to join the army because most of the people extremely dislike the life of a soldier unlike in the past.  He also added that though the ruling Burmese military regime issued orders not to forcefully draft civilians into the armed services, they have again come up with the much controversial method of coercion in conscripting civilians into the defence services.

Meanwhile the villagers have been forced to offer food and drink to the members of the Burmese army who came for conducting the conscription as well as to those who have been newly and forcefully recruited, he said.  #