April 29, 2024. (Than Lwin Times)

Soldiers and police are compiling lists from ward and village administrators in Mawlamyine Township Mon State, to forcibly recruit local youths into military service locals said.

Junta’s soldiers and police are conducting nighttime patrols in Mawlamyine, ostensibly for security, but are instead conducting surprise raids and abducting young individuals who have reached conscription age.

Two young men, listed for conscription, were recently apprehended by soldiers and taken to the recruitment centre near the Mon Culture Museum.

Similarly three young men were forcefully taken by military vehicles in Mawlamyine, and when family members made inquiries , the Junta authorities responded that they were on the conscription list and were being detained for military service, a Mawlamyine resident told Than Lwin Times.

“Two Muslim youths and a Hindu youth from Taungtan ward were forcibly intercepted by a military vehicle while returning home. They were taken away against their will. When their families were finally able to contact them, they had already been brought to the recruitment centre. The soldiers justified their actions by citing the inclusion of the young men in the conscription list conducted by the ward administrators”, he said.

Lately the Junta troops have decreased the practice of summoning young people in accordance with conscription laws, and opting instead to employ tactics of abduction, and rounding up individuals found outside during nighttime.

A local source said that families of young people forcibly sent to recruitment centres who wanted to secure the release of their sons, are only freed in change for a massive ransom payment. These street abductions has resulted in virtually empty streets after 9:00 pm at night.

As per a report published on April 13 by the Burma Affairs and Conflict Study (BACS), over 4,300 young people nationwide were sent to 15 recruitment centres, and compelled to undergo military training for the first batch of the conscription. Other reports suggest much higher numbers have been forcibly abducted.

According to BACS, for Mon State, the Junta’s recruitment centre in Weakali Village, within Thanbyuzayat Township, saw 200 youths summoned and trained as part of the initial batch of conscripts.

Photo: MOI

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