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Chin National Front calls to resist conscription law; Thai PM warns Burma nationals to enter legally

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Chin National Front calls to resist conscription law

The Chin National Front (CNF) issued a statement on Chin National Day Feb. 20 calling on people eligible for military service under Burma’s conscription law to help defeat the regime. It claimed that the military is enforcing this law to replenish its forces which have faced increasing losses, desertions and defections.

The CNF called the conscription law “forced recruitment” enacted to use civilians as “human shields.” It urged all Chin people to join together to help build Chinland. The National Unity Government (NUG) issued a statement Tuesday to commemorate “the sacrifices made by the Chin people” in the nationwide uprising against the military.  

Thai PM warns Burma nationals to enter legally

Thai Prime Minister Sretta Thavisin warned that legal action will be taken against Burma nationals that come to Thailand illegally. He added that they must apply for legitimate visas if they plan on visiting Thailand. 

“They are welcome if they enter the country legally. But if they sneak into the country illegally, legal action will be taken against them. I already discussed the matter with security agencies,” said Srettha Thavisin. 

The Thai prime minister’s comments come as many in Burma seek to flee the country after the conscription law announcement on Feb. 10. The Thai embassy in Yangon limited the number of visa applications to 400 per day last Thursday.

Migrant workers struggle to find jobs in Laos

Burma nationals have struggled to find jobs in Laos after they traveled to the neighboring country to seek employment. Some have arrived in the last week to avoid military conscription and are worried about the lack of prospects. 

“I don’t want them to risk leaving the country despite understanding their reasons for leaving Burma. You won’t be able to work if you don’t speak Chinese,” said an unnamed migrant worker from Burma in Laos. 

Migrant workers from Burma seeking to leave the country have increased since the 2021 military coup. Many have fallen victim to brokers charging between 500,000 to two million kyat for fraudulent employment offers, according to migrant worker groups. 

News by Region

The Restoration Council of Shan State held a ceremony commemorating Shan National Day in 2016. (Credit: DVB)

SHAN—The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA) announced the enforcement of its own conscription law on Feb. 19. It requires men and women aged 18 to 45 in Shan State to serve up to six years. 

“The [Burma] military will conduct its recruitment in the mainland in accordance with its law. It is not relevant for people in Shan State,” RCSS spokesperson Maj Sai Kham San told Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN). The RCSS will enforce its property law which stipulates that it can confiscate properties belonging to residents that go abroad to avoid conscription. 

ARAKAN—A man in detention at Kyaukphyu Airport allegedly attempted to harm himself following interrogation on Feb. 19. “He tried to insert his finger into a power socket. Fortunately, others were able to switch off the plug and pull his hand away in time,” said another man interrogated and released from airport detention. 

The military allegedly found evidence the man had ties to the Arakan Army (AA). He was one of the 66 arrested at Kyaukphyu Airport on Feb. 18. More than 100 passengers have been detained since landing in Kyaukphyu on Feb. 18, according to residents. 

BAGO—The Burma Army distributed weapons to pro-military militias in four townships including Oktwin on Feb. 19, according to a source close to the Southern Regional Command. 

“They were equipped with weapons and provided with salaries after they completed their military training,” a source close to the military told DVB. Weapons have been distributed to other militias in Bago on Feb. 2 and 6. 

KAREN—General Secretary of the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF), Saw Chit Thu, said that he could not confirm whether he would reorganize the BGF into a group called the Karen Army. Last month, he announced that his BGF would cut ties with the military.   

“I don’t know who spread this information but it is not yet confirmed and I don’t know anything about it,” said Saw Chit Thu. The Karen BGF was established in 2010 after it split from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and sided with the military. 

NAYPYIDAW—Textile factories in Yangon and Pyinbongyi in Bago Region received instructions from Min Aung Hlaing to make 140,000 military uniforms on Feb. 16, said an unnamed source close to military-owned factories. The order came after the conscription law announcement. 

“We used to make military uniforms but this is an urgent order and we have been told to make nearly 10,000 military uniforms before the end of April,” said an unnamed garment worker from the Tatmadaw Textile Factory in Hlaingthaya. Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said that new conscripts will be recruited after Thingyan.  

(Exchange rate: $1 USD = 3,580 kyat)

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