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Abducted boys returned home

Feb 2, 2010 (DVB), Two under-aged boys from Magwe division's Taungdwingyi in central Burma recruited into army by force last month have been returned to their parents.

14-year old Kyaw Min Htun and a high school pupil Ko Phyo were abducted on January 19 by Lance Corporal Naing Win of nearby Migyaung-yeh based Infantry Battalion-83.

Sandar Win, mother of Kyaw Min Htun, said her son was returned home on January 30 by four officials from the battalion.

"My son was brought home around 3 o’clock in the afternoon," she said. "They asked me to check if he was in good shape or if he had any injury on his body before collecting my signature on a document. I am so happy to have my son back."

Sandar Win said her son is now ready to go back to his job as a boiled quail egg vendor.

Ko Phyo was returned to his family on January 26 after his family paid 40,000 Kyat to officials and submitted hospital records along with a signature from the local authority chairman.

Aye Myint of Guiding Star legal advocacy group, focusing on forced labour and child soldier issues in Burma, said Kyaw Min Htun's release was a result of recent extension of memorandum of understanding between the International Labour Organisation and the ruling junta of Burma, and the awareness of the cases by senior government officials after they were reported by exile media.

"The progression was fast as senior authorities were notified about the cases after media reports," said Aye Myint.

"Also, as the pressure from the international community and the ILO has increased, people are now more aware of issues regarding child soldier recruitment and this is now limiting corrupt government officials from taking advantages."

Reporting by Naw Noreen


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