Monday, November 21, 2011

Army Recruits 14-Year-Old Student in Arakan State


Buthidaung: An army battalion based in Buthidaung in western Burma's Arakan State has recently recruited a 14-year-old student from the area, reportedly after deceiving him about support for receiving a better education in the army.

A source close to the child's parents told Narinjara that Light Infantry Battalion 234 based in Buthidaung conscripted him into the army on 27 October, 2011.

"The name of the school-aged child is Maung Ray Nyien, son of U Aung Thar Aung and Daw Pulay Maung from Awrama Village in Buthidaung Township. Corporal Soe Aung and Private Maung Pya from local LIB 234 tricked the child by claiming he would get a better education in the army," said the source.

The source added that the child is a class seven student studying at Awrama Joint Middle School in Buthidaung Township.

"His parents went to the army on 31 October and asked the army to return their child to them, but the child is unwilling to return with his parents because the army has tricked him into believing he'll receive a better education," said the source.

A school teacher who wished to remain anonymous from the Joint Basic Middle School No. 3 in Awrama Village confirmed that Maung Ray Nyein is just 14 years old and is a class seven student at the school.

"We made an inquiry with his parents because he was absent from school for a long time, and we came to learn that he has been recruited into a local army battalion. He is just 14 years old and a student in class seven in our school, and his admission number is 122," said the teacher.

An official from the branch office of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in Buthidaung also said the child had already been sent to the recruitment center in the capital Sittwe.

"The child's parents also came to our office here and requested help getting their child back from the army. So, we have directly gone to the army to inquire about the child and found the child was already sent to the recruiting center in Sittwe," said the official.

According to sources close to the army, the army battalions based in Arakan State are still continuing to recruit children despite claims by the Burmese regime that there are no child soldiers in Burma.

They added that many children are found being collected in the cantonment area of Military Operation Command, of Sa Ka Kha 9 based in Kyauktaw in northern Arakan for conscription into the army battalions as well.

They said the local battalions have not only been recruiting under-aged children, but also physically unfit individuals as soldiers because the number of people who want to join the Burmese army is getting lower every year in Arakan State.


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