Two children abducted into Burmese army

June 24, 2009 (DVB), Two 14-year-old boys in Rangoon who were abducted into the army but then disqualified on fitness grounds have been forcibly sent to other military camps around Burma, according to the mother of one of the boys.

The two, Zin Min Aung and Zaw Zaw, disappeared in late May after collecting wood near to Panpinsan village in Rangoon division's Twante township.

Their families discovered in June that they had been abducted by army Sergeant Win Myint and sent to the Danyingone soldier recruitment centre in Rangoon's Insein township.

"We went to the Danyingone recruitment centre last Friday and found out that our sons were brought there by Sergeant Win Myint on 7 June but they refused to recruit them as they were underage and not fit enough," said Zin Min Aung's mother, Kyu Kyu Mar.

Those who present new recruits to the Burmese army are often rewarded with a sum of money.

They then went to find Win Myint at his house but only his wife was there.

"The wife said her husband has been on a trip for about four to five days and that she thought he was trying to hand the boys to other army recruitment centres."

After being confronted several days later by Kyu Kyu Mar, Win Myint reportedly admitted that he had sent the boys to other camps.

"He said he sent our sons into the army as they are straying on the streets," she said, adding that he had said he "only collects stray kids but not kids from good families".

Win Myint told her to contact staff at the Danyingone centre to discover their whereabouts. When she arrived at the centre, however, she was denied entry.

She said the families are now getting assistance from the opposition National League for Democracy party in Twante to report the case to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Cases of forced recruitment of child soldiers in Burma arise frequently, despite the government regularly proclaiming that it is tackling the issue.

In 2002, Human Rights Watch accused the junta of being the world's leading recruiter of child soldiers.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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