The Pa-O National Organization (PNO) is recruiting locals to form a new pro-junta militia from villages between Taunngyi and Hopong in territory that is part of the Pa-O Self-Administered Zone, southern Shan.
Villages report having been forced to provide three civilians each to contribute to the new militia. Ethnic Pa-O men between the ages 18 and 35 are being forced to enlist by military-appointed administrators, locals said.
In addition, the PNO is collecting K30,000 (US$16) per household for “military security”, according to residents.
“We have been completely opposed to the military dictatorship from the beginning. The people may starve because of the PNO. Along with the PNO, there are other ethnic Pa-O that support the military dictatorship… They should be called to join the new militia instead,” a local woman told DVB.
Since the coup, reports received by DVB suggest that the PNO has often fought alongside the Burma Army against resistance groups around the Shan capital Taunggyi, and also Moebye and Pekon in northern Karenni / southern Shan.
Those over 35 are being tasked by troops to guard villages. Another resident reported that those refusing to join the militia must pay a tax of K45,000 (US$24).
“So far, they are not threatening those who refuse to join the militia. Three villagers have been selected through a lottery system. Village admins are forced men with pregnant wives to enlist despite protests and cries from the women,” he added.
The military recently used the same tactics in Ywangan, southern Shan, forcibly recruiting ethnic Danu people into a pro-military militia.