Myanmar’s Junta Announces Compulsory Military Service Amid Ongoing Conflict
The government in Myanmar has announced compulsory military service for all young men and women as the country continues to face ongoing conflict. In recent months, the country has been defeated in a series of battles with ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters. The move, announced on Saturday, will require all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 to serve at least two years under military command.
No further details have been released yet, but in a statement, the junta said its defense ministry would “release necessary bylaws, procedures, announcements orders, notifications and instructions.” The military has faced a series of humiliating defeats in recent months. At the end of last year, three ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State – supported by other armed groups that oppose the government – captured border crossings and roads carrying most of the overland trade with China.
Myanmar’s military-installed president, Myint Swe – a former general – has previously warned that if the government could not bring fighting under control, the country was at risk of breaking apart. A law allowing conscription was introduced in Myanmar in 2010 but was not enforced until now. Under the legislation, terms of service can be extended up to five years during a state of emergency. Those ignoring summons to serve can instead be jailed for the same period.
A state of emergency was announced by Myanmar’s junta in 2021 and was recently extended for another six months. The country had endured almost 50 years of rule under oppressive military regimes before moving towards democracy in 2011. On February 1st, 2021, the military announced it had taken control of the country. Disorders and fighting have affected the country ever since then with more than one million people displaced and thousands killed.
The performance of Myanmar’s army in its recent battles with ethnic armed groups – some of which have ended in defeats and retreats – has sparked criticisms and doubts among its supporters.
In conclusion, Myanmar’s junta has announced compulsory military service amid ongoing conflict as it tries to strengthen its grip on power after being defeated by ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters. The move will require all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 to serve at least two years under military command for an undetermined period while facing criticism from its supporters about its recent performance on battlefields.