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Military conscription to begin in April after Thingyan holidays


Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said that the military’s conscription law is scheduled to be enforced by mid-April after Thingyan, the Buddhist holiday and new year. He said that the military is anticipating around 5,000 people to be recruited in each batch of new conscripts. 

Mandatory military service was declared on Feb. 10 under the People’s Military Service Law. The law was enacted in 2010 under the previous regime the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) but had not been enforced up until now.

The law requires men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to serve up to two years, while specialists like doctors aged up to 45 must serve for three years.

“It’s not just about military roles in national defense. Today, even computer hackers play a vital role in protecting their country from cyber intrusions. Business people contribute by safeguarding national interests to maximize benefits. The news media also plays a part in defending against attacks, even from other media outlets,” Zaw Min Tun told BBC Burmese.

Further official instructions regarding the recruitment process are expected to be issued. The regime will enforce the National Reserve Law, which stipulates that retired military personnel must return to serve in the army.

“This law is literally regarding the return of retired security personnels. The former members of security forces who retired within five years, counting from your retirement dates, are responsible to return to the service in the army. Among the eligible numbers [of reservists], only necessary people need to serve,” he added.

Resistance groups, including the National Unity Government (NUG), have condemned the military’s conscription law. The NUG called the plans for mandatory military service “illegal.”

“Not only do they lack the legal mandate to enact the conscription law, but their concerted effort to implement the law also represents ‌a clear and blatant disregard of the recommendations of the United Nations Security Council Resolution [2669] and the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus,” the NUG shared in a statement online.

Pro-military supporters held rallies in towns across Magway and Mandalay regions on Feb. 13 to express their support for the conscription law. Hundreds rallied in Magway, Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Kyaukse, and Meiktila. The attendees are believed to include members of the military-proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), relatives of military personnel, and nationalist activists.

The regime’s plans to recruit conscripts and retired military personnel comes as the Burma Army has lost control of large swathes of the country since late October, when the Brotherhood Alliance launched an offensive in northern Shan State. The military has also suffered from heavy casualties, desertions, and defections since the military coup took place on Feb. 1, 2021.


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