As Rakhine State war intensifies, an island town resists conscription and struggles with scarcity

As they defy Myanmar’s reactivated military service law, civilians on Manaung (Cheduba) Island face rising prices and growing food instability despite their remoteness from the fighting between junta and AA forces

While a devastating war rages across most of Rakhine State, the 500-square kilometre island of Manaung in the Bay of Bengal, and its 57,000 inhabitants, have remained largely untouched by violence. 

Some six miles from Rakhine State’s coast, the island—also known as Cheduba Island—is accessible only by boat ride from the state’s Ramree and Taungup townships. 

Its inhabitants, like all Myanmar nationals, are subject to the new mandatory military service policy that the Myanmar regime plans to implement in full this month as the army trains its first batch of conscripts. 

Administrators in Manaung, however, have rebuffed directives from the regime to select seven people from each of the town’s wards for military service. 

After most administrators ignored the regime’s orders, which came in the first week of March, local media outlets reported that junta police threatened a. . .

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