Man selected for conscription into Myanmar military kills himself

Neighbours say they found the 25-year-old, a resident of Taungoo, Bago Region who had been randomly selected for mandatory military service, after his apparent suicide by hanging

A young man hanged himself on Tuesday morning at his home in Taungoo, Bago Region after being selected by lottery for conscription into the army, according to the man’s neighbours. 

The deceased was Aye Chan, 25—also sometimes called Kauk Kauk—who lived in Ward 16 in Taungoo, Bago Region. His funeral was held on Wednesday, the day after his death.

“A few days ago, the ward administrator came to say that he had been chosen for conscription by a random selection process. He said he felt upset and started drinking heavily, became depressed, and then hanged himself the next morning,” a source close to Aye Chan’s family said.

Aye Chan is survived by his wife and two children. The bereaved family is deeply saddened by his sudden death and prefers not to speak to the media, sources close to them said. 

Officials in Taungoo have yet to release any information or public statements on the suicide. 

Another Taungoo resident, who knew Aye Chan and said he had killed himself because he did not want to serve in the army, also alleged that local junta-appointed administrators had been soliciting or extorting bribes from rich families who were reluctant to answer the summons for military service. 

“This law is more impactful in urban communities like this, with high incomes. I’ve heard extortion is happening,” the Taungoo resident said. 

In another recent incident, a young Muslim conscript from Yangon Region’s Taikkyi Township, Yangon Region died from unknown causes four days after the start of his military service. 

The deceased was Ko Ko Latt, 27, who had also been selected for mandatory service through a random selection process. He died at the Mingaladon Defence Services General Hospital in Yangon.

Myanmar’s military is in urgent need of manpower after facing increasing desertions and combat losses in recent months amid escalating battles throughout Myanmar. The military regime announced plans to enforce a decade-old conscription law in February of this year. 

Since the law’s reactivation, the regime’s administrators have been compiling lists of all young men between 18 and 35 years old—the eligible age range according to the conscription law—and selecting names from the lists for compulsory military service.

The selection and training of conscripts has already begun despite the regime’s initial claims that the first batch of recruits would start their service after the Thingyan holidays in mid-April.

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