More and more Myanmar youth attempt to flee as junta approves compulsory service; legal or illegal means


YANGON/BANGKOK (dpa): More and more Myanmar's youth are fleeing the country in various ways after the military regime activated a conscription law, forcing them to take compulsory military service for at least two years as armed conflicts have flared up across the country.

The junta started to enforce the conscription law on February 10 and asked citizens to take part in the military starting in April.

Men aged 18 to 45 and women aged 18 to 35 can be drafted into the armed forces for two years of compulsory service. certain personnel with specialist professions, such as doctors and engineers, must serve for three years. According to the law, military service can be extended for five years in case of emergency.

"We only have one son. So, we suggested him to attend an international university here" in Yangon, the mother of a 19-year-old man who was also waiting in front of the Thai embassy in Yangon to apply for a visa, told dpa.

"Now, we have made the decision to send him to Thailand.”

There are 14 million people entitled to military service, including 6.3 million men and 7.7 million women, military authorities said.

So many young people are now leaving Myanmar that the Thai prime minister warned that Myanmar nationals who enter Thailand illegally will face legal action.

Since the enforcement took effect, many young people have been arrested by the military to work as porters for the military, transporting their gear in some major cities, including Yangon, Mandalay, and Myitkyina, according to some footage and photos posted by citizens on social media. - dpa

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