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Forced military recruitment in Bago and Shan state

Dec 24, 2007 (DVB), Government troops have been forcing villagers in Bago division and northern Shan state to sign up new recruits to the army or pay money to the military to hire mercenaries.

Local troops from government brigade (66) in Nattalin, Zeegone, and Kyopin Kout townships are demanding that local villagers contribute one recruit from each village group or 1500 kyat per household to hire mercenaries.

"Our village group, which consists of four villages, had to pay 900,000 kyat to the military to hire a mercenary. We do not dare to complain about it," said a villager from Chaung Gwa village in Nattalin township.

Meanwhile, locals in Sibaw and Kyauk Mae townships in northern Shan state have also made complaints about local military troops forcing locals to join the army.

"They are demanding a recruit from each household that has a male family member. If we don't want to join, we have to pay 100,000 kyat to the military," said a local from Kyauk Mae.

"It is not a problem if you can afford to pay that money. But those who can't afford it are now very worried for their sons."

Reporting by Aye Nai and Nan Kham Kaew

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