Bandarban: Six Arakanese youth from the Indo-Burma border area in southern Chin State were recruited by the Burmese army last week with food and other property given to their family, said a teacher from the area.
"The youths are from Tharaw Ai Village and their families are very poor. The army officials organized the youths' families by giving food and cash to recruit their sons. Later the army officials forced the youth to join the army," he said.
The village of Tharaw Ai is located on the upper Kaladan River near the Indian border and consists of over 70 households, all of which are Arakanese.
The six youths who were conscripted into the army are Bo Win Tun, 18-year-old son of U Thein Aung, Aung Aung Than, 18-year-old son of Chin Khaing, Kyaw Kyaw Win, 18-year-old son of U Maung Kyaw, Aung Thein, 20-year-old son of U Aung Tun Oo, Pho Thein Kyaw, 18 years old, U Aung Thein Kyaw, and Maung Loon, 17-year-old son of U Aung Tun Khaing.
"The six youths were sent on Sunday to LIB 289 based in Paletwa. They will be sent to the Sittwe recruitment center from there for military training," the teacher added.
The youths who were conscripted by the army are mostly illiterate, and Maung Loon has never attended school.
The Burmese army is currently collecting a list of youths aged 18 to 25 who are living in the Indo-Burma border area but has not disclosed the reason for collecting this list. However, the army battalions stationed in the border area have been recruiting young people extensively by giving pay-offs of cash and food to their families.
Recently, three Khami youths in the area joined the Burmese army after army officials gave food and other items to their famine-stricken families. Youths in the border area who are illiterate and poor have been targeted by the Burmese army for recruitment and conscription.
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