Reported by EMG
Majority of the youths living in southern Shan State fled their homes fearing recruitment by ethnic armed group Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) according to locals from Maingpyin and Maingpon village tracts.
Despite locals having no desire to take part in RCSS/SSA, they were forced to cast lot for choosing new recruits from their village.
“RCSS demanded one recruit from each village and if the village is big, they demanded two. No one wants to be their new recruits on their own and so we had to draw lots. Those unlucky ones are waiting in their villages to be sumoned from RCSS,” said a resident from Maingpon village.
He continued that most of the youths have families and are worried over who will be earning bread if they were recruited, leading to youths fleeing to other towns.
RCSS is conscription from villages in Maingpyin such as Nanyaing, Maingpon, Kunsai, Wantpyat, Wantkhot, Kyeing Taung, Want paung, Want Lyun, and Kyaung Kyin. Majority of the locals have no desire to be a new recruit.
In a meeting with Shan Herald, General Ywet Sit, chairman of RCSS said that there are no forced recruitments and locals are joining voluntary RCSS/SSA.
“Look at the neighbouring Thailand, there are no clashes but they have to take part in military training. In areas like ours where battles actually occur, locals need to participate in the military training. After serving their terms, they can go back to their families. The recruitments are not done out of self-interest but for the sake of our people,” said General Yewtsit.
RCSS/SSA is one of 10 ethnic militias that has signed the government’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). NCA forbids signatories from recruiting and strengthening their armed forces.