Militia Recruitment Drives the Displacement of Locals Fleeing to Escape Conscription in Kyauktaga

With Junta -appointed ward and village administrators actively recruiting residents from the villages of Kyauktaga Township Bago Region, to join militia aligned with the Military Council, locals report many residents are fleeing their homes to avoid forced conscription.

Under the pretext of mandatory service for regional peace, local administrators compel men aged 18 to 60 to draw lots, with the unfortunate winners being recruited into the militia against their will, as explained by the locals.

Residents who were chosen to join the militia but resisted doing so, were coerced into paying MMK 500,000 weekly, with regime authorities threatening to burn down villages that did not comply, as disclosed by a resident speaking to KIC under the condition of anonymity.

“In Kyauktaga Township and nearby villages, plans of forcing residents to draw lots have already started. Those selected but unwilling to join the militia, are coerced into paying MMK 500,000 per week—yes on a weekly basis. Villages failing to comply face threats of being burned down. We are closely monitoring the situation. Fortunately, that recruitment drive plan has not reached our area yet.

Both Karen and Bamar ethnicities, particularly the youth, have preemptively sought refuge in liberated areas”, he said.
Reports indicate that Junta-appointed administrators are also compelling residents to join the militia not only in Kyauktaga, but also in other townships across the region, including Nyaunglebin, Taungoo, Shwegyin, and Paungde.

The directive issued by the Paungde Township Administration Office on January 13th mandated that every neighborhood must uphold a minimum of 40 militia members as a reserve force, with the prospect of recruiting every able-bodied male in the community, except for government employees and students; those who are selected will receive militia training and be armed to safeguard community security, witnesses told KIC.

On January 18th, the Southern Regional Command of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) issued a statement, cautioning the public to stay vigilant against the Military Council’s efforts to forcibly recruit individuals into the militia. The statement also delivered a strong warning to those actively aiding the Junta, indicating that they may face severe consequences.

Likewise, in Shwe Kokko town, under the control of the Junta-aligned militia Border Guard Force (BGF) in the northern part of Myawaddy Township, Karen State, the BGF has coerced residents into complying with forced recruitment, as stated by locals.

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