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Muslim youths from IDP camp seek refuge with AA amid pressure to join military service

  • By: Web Master
  • | Date: 25 February 2024
  • | Viewer: 2.3k

Several youths from Kyauk Ta Lone Muslim IDP camp in Kyaukphyu township of Rakhine State have sought refuge with the Arakan Army (AA) due to the military junta's enforcement of compulsory military services.


Among those who sought refuge in the AA, there was one young woman along with over 10 young people, said a reliable source.


"The reason they fled the camp is because the military junta pressured 150 people from the camp to join military services. Now, some of the youths have sought refuge with the AA," added the source.


An internally displaced person (IDP), who wished to remain anonymous, revealed that the family members of those young people (who fled the camp) are no longer permitted to stay in the camp. They were driven away by the camp officials.


"People are terrified of joining the military service. They're lying low because they have nowhere to escape. Both the children and adults are distraught, unable to eat and drink. Around 15 or 16 young people have fled the camp, and the rest of their families have been forcibly driven out. We're at a loss, do not know what to do," stated the source.


On 17 February, members of Kyauk Ta Lone IDP camp management committee collected a list of male IDPs (aged 18 to 55 years) and informed them that they would be joining military services.


The military service law applies only to individuals between 18 and 35 years of age. However, in the IDP camp, individuals aged 18 to 55 years were also short listed.


The  camp functionaries revealed that they have been pressured by the junta to send 150 young people to join military services within a week. Later the deadline was extended by three days in regards to the Muslim prayer day.


The military officials have promised those people national citizenship after completing their term and threatened to arrest them all if they refuse to admit.


"I'm not sure if he's a tactical operation commander or a captain. He told us that as an ethnic group, we're obligated to serve the country. So we asked them, why weren't  granted citizenship? He replied that it would be done after the military training programs. He even disclosed that the junta trusts us more than the Rakhine people," said a Muslim refugee.


Narinjara News tried to contact Kyauk Ta Lone IDP camp administrator U Maw Ni and Maung Ni by telephone, but failed.


The concerned camp gives shelter to  300 households (comprising over 1,000 individuals), who were displaced from urban wards like Ah Yar Shi, Paik Seik, Tan Ban Chaung and Toe Chae of  Kyaukphyu township after the conflict erupted in 2012. (Photo: UN)

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