Myanmar junta enforces mandatory military service for young people

Monday, Feb 12, 2024

YANGON: Myanmar’s junta made military service mandatory for all young men and women, state media said, as it struggles to contain armed rebel forces fighting for greater autonomy in various parts of the country.

All men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 must serve for up to two years, while specialists like doctors aged up to 45 must serve for three years. The service can be extended to a total of five years in the ongoing state of emergency, state media said on Saturday.

“The duty to safeguard and defend the nation extends beyond just the soldiers but to all citizens. So I want to tell everyone to proudly follow this people’s military service law,” junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state media.

Myanmar has been gripped by chaos since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup.Since October, the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, has suffered personnel losses while battling a coordinated offensive by an alliance of three ethnic-minority insurgent groups, allied with pro-democracy fighters.

It is the biggest challenge the military has faced since first taking power in the former British colony in 1962.The Tatmadaw is struggling to recruit soldiers and has begun forcing non-combat personnel to the frontline, analysts say.A law mandating conscription was introduced in 2010 but had not been enforced. Those who fail to comply with the draft face up to five years in prison, the legislation says.