Children recruited in Burmese Army cadet
Shan Herald Agency for News
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 11:12 Hseng Khio Fah
Burmese soldiers (Photo: http://www.flowersofhope4burma.org)
The Burmese Army in Shan State East has forcibly recruited children aged from 12 to 15 to its army cadet claiming it will improve education.
The Army continues to recruit despite international pressure to stop using child soldiers.
Burmese soldiers from both Mongpiang-based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #360, led by Captain Thein Aung, and Infantry Battalion (IB) # 43, led by Lieutenant Aung Naing, recruited many children from the township, said a local resident who wishes to remain anonymous.
The recruitment, using Lahu militia units from Kawng Pat village tract, started in April.
Children from 27 villages around Pat Kang village tract, 30 miles northwest of Mongpiang, have been taken. Each village was ordered to provide five children, the source said.
On 25 May, children were taken to an army base in Nam Zarng, in Shan State South. It is not yet known how many children were taken.
A mother whose child was taken said: “I worry that my son will be sent to front line as the situation in the country is unstable. He is just 12 years old.”
Khami tribal youths from Pelatwa and Buthidaung Township on the western Burma border have also been forcibly recruited by the Burmese army, according to Narinjara report on 1 June.
According to Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2009, Burma still continues widespread and systematic forced recruitment of child soldiers.
Villagers over the age of 18 are also being ordered to attend military training, conducted at the command of the IB# 43 from May 1.
The first group of about 100 villagers has been trained and the second group is now undergoing training, say local villagers.
“After the training, those [trainee] will be sent to provide security in their area and in the military region,” the source said.
Since early 2009, the Burmese Army has been forcing villagers in several townships in Shan State to set up militia units.
Likewise, from the beginning of May, junta authorities in Chin state began military training for villagers of Paletwa Township, Khonumthung News reported on 1 June.
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