Myanmar junta plans to implement mandatory military service in April

Share this:


News Desk

Myanmar’s ruling military plans to call up young people for mandatory service from April and also require retired security personnel to serve, media reports cited a junta spokesman as saying, as the army struggles to crush an anti-junta insurgency.

The Southeast Asian country has been in turmoil since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup and plans by the junta to call up more people to fight point to the military being under growing pressure.

Last Saturday, Myanmar’s junta declared a law governing mandatory military service would be enforced for men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 for up to two years. On Tuesday, it said this would begin in April.

“We are working to implement the conscription after the new year holiday in April,” junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told BBC Burmese, referring to Myanmar’s most important holiday, known as Thingyan. He said medical checks would be conducted and each intake would number about 5,000.

Zaw Min Tun did not answer a phone call seeking comment, but state media MRTV also cited him as saying retired members of the security forces who had left within the past five years would also have to return to the army.

He did not specify how many would be called up nor the timing but said it would only include those “who were necessary.”

A law mandating conscription was introduced in 2010 but had not been enforced. Those who fail to comply with the draft face up to five years in prison, the legislation says.

The junta has not disclosed details about the military’s strength, but analysts and a diplomat in Southeast Asia have said that it faces challenges in recruiting soldiers and has resorted to deploying non-combat personnel to the frontline.

Since October, the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, has suffered personnel losses while battling a coordinated offensive by an alliance of three ethnic-minority insurgent groups, allied with pro-democracy fighters.

Plans to call up more ordinary citizens are providing additional impetus for some to consider fleeing the conflict-torn country, media reports and social media posts show.

“It is really bad for our generation,” said a 27-year-old company worker in Yangon who was trying to leave and declined to be named due to concerns about being targeted by authorities.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *