Myanmar’s military government enforces conscription law

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On February 1, Myanmar entered its fourth year since the coup

The government in Myanmar has imposed mandatory military service for all young men and women as unrest continues in the country.

But in recent months the country has been defeated in a series of battles with ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters.

The measure announced Saturday requires all men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to serve under military command for at least two years.

No further details have been released. But in a statement, the junta said its defense ministry would “release the necessary statutes, procedures, announcement orders, notifications and instructions.”

The army has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in recent months.

Late last year, three armies of ethnic rebels in Shan state — backed by other armed groups opposing the government — captured border crossings and roads that carried most of the land trade with China.

Myanmar’s military-installed President Myint Swe – a former general – has previously warned that the country risks falling apart if the government cannot get the fighting under control.

A law allowing conscription was introduced in Myanmar in 2010, but has not been enforced to date.

According to the legislation, the terms of service during the state of emergency can be extended up to a period of five years. Those who ignore the call to serve may instead be jailed for the same period.

The state of emergency was declared by the country’s junta in 2021 and recently extended for another six months.

Myanmar suffered almost fifty years under oppressive military regimes before transitioning to democracy in 2011.

On February 1, 2021, the military announced that it had taken control of the country.

Disorder and fighting have since hit the country, displacing more than a million people and killing thousands.

The military’s performance in recent battles with ethnic armed groups – some of which have ended in defeats and withdrawals – has sparked criticism and doubt among its supporters.

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