Another eligible enlistee who turned up at his local administrative office told CNA that he was one of about 40 people who were called up. Of those who turned up – about two-third – seven were exempted, with one of them apparently diagnosed with tuberculosis.

In early February, the Myanmar army enacted a dormant enlistment law, requiring eligible candidates to serve in the military.

The army quoted the country’s Constitution, stating that every citizen has a duty to safeguard Myanmar’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. It said the first round of enlistment will start in April with about 5,000 recruits.

Women are exempted from service for now, but the move has sparked fear among those eligible. Opponents of this enlistment law claim the army plans to use civilian soldiers as human shields, a charge the army denies.

Former army captain Kaung Thu Win told CNA that the recruits are likely to be given arms as soon as they graduate from bootcamp and be sent to the frontline.

“The army will not assess a recruit’s progress thoroughly – such as the recruit’s skills or whether they are ready for war or not,” he said.

“The army’s training protocol is to instil fear in new recruits. For instance, if they’re ordered to line up, they will have to line up. They can only eat when it is time to eat. They can be dismissed only when given permission. No one would dare to go against the order because if someone disobeys it, he will be punished.”

Security experts said that conscription could spark more violence. Already, the army and its opponents have been locked in ongoing conflicts since the coup.


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