Intensive recruiting for Army in Shan State
WEDNESDAY, 22 JULY 2009 18:00 HSENG KHIO FAH
Local sources have reported that hundreds of youths from rural areas in Lashio Township, northern Shan State, are being recruited by junta-backed local militia forces for the Army since last month.
The recruiting drive was led by Bo Mon, leader of Wanpang militia, in areas between Lashio and Tangyan townships under its control.
“One from every household in each village and village tract must enlist for military service,” said a local resident in Mong Yaw village tract who declines to be named.
To date, over 200 youths from Nam Pawng, Man Pang, Mong Yaw, Mong Tawm and Mong Ha villages have already left for Pyinmana, near the new capital of Naypyitaw, a source said.
To escape from the recruiting, many have fled to towns and others gone to stay in monasteries as monks. However, some were unable to escape as they were followed and forcibly disrobed by the group. Families and relatives are also being threatened, said another source.
People who could afford must pay at least Kyat 300,000 ($ 273) per person in order to evade the draft. “Naturally, there are only a few who can pay,” he said.
The Burma Army has reportedly planned to send the local militia forces to the frontline to fight against the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ and other groups, said a businessman who is close to an officer from the regional command in Lashio.
“The Tamataw will force the militias to fight against rebels, the same way it is using the DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) to fight against KNU (Karen National Union) in the south,” he said.
In June, the joint forces of the Burma Army and the DKBA had overrun the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)’s 7th Brigade base after a joint military offensive against the KNLA, the armed wing of Karen National Union (KNU).