Myanmar’s military punishes families of administrators who fled militia training

Junta forces have imposed hefty fines on the relatives of four administrators who fled their village in Magway Region’s Pauk Township to avoid joining a military-backed militia, according to sources.

The four 10-household administrators, who are all in their 30s, left the village of Yar Gyi Pyin earlier this month when they heard that the military was planning to recruit them as members of the pro-army Pyu Saw Htee militia.

Regime troops arrived in the village—which is located about 8km east of the town of Pauk—in the first week of November to provide training to new recruits, a resident said.

“The four of them left the village to get out of having to join the Pyu Saw Htee, but their parents and grandparents stayed behind, and now they’re being told they have to pay 500,000 kyat [$240] a month each,” said the villager.

Training for 20 other administrators who joined the Pyu Saw Htee began on Saturday and is being conducted inside a village monastery, he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the villager, the training is being led by 19 junta officers from the Defence Equipment Factory No. 24 in Pauk.

“There is a session from 7:30am till 11am and another from 1pm till 4pm. Nobody else apart from the trainees is allowed into the camp. The trainees are sometimes punched if they fail to follow instructions,” he said.

The Anonymous Special Task Force, a defence team based in Pauk Township, said that it used drones with bombs attached to them to attack the camp on the first day of training.

The group’s information officer said that although trainees and junta officers could be seen running in a panic after two bombs were dropped, it was unclear how much damage they did.

According to the Yar Gyi Pyin resident who spoke to Myanmar Now, around 30 families have left the village since the military arrived. Most of those who remain are junta supporters, he said.

He added that regime soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee leaders have looted the homes of those who fled.

“The military takes any money they can get from selling looted property, and the Pyu Saw Htee members use the things that they can’t sell,” said the villager.

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