Civilians Forced to Take Militia Training in Chin State
07 April 2011: Burma’s military authorities have forcibly ordered local people including government employees to participate in the militia training in Hakha and Thantlang towns in Chin State since late last month, a source from Chin Human Rights Organisation said.
About 50 people, who were reportedly selected by the authorities for the over-two-week programme, took part in the inauguration ceremony held at Town Hall in Thantlang on 30 March 2011, according to a Thantlang local, who asks not to be named.
In Hakha town, the training was conducted from 22 to 31 March. However, unlike Thantlang, the trainees were recruited from among people who had previously participated in the ‘volunteer firemen’ training back in Octobter 2009 and 2010 respectively.
The trainees were asked to pay 3,000 Kyats each for their uniforms.
“The training ran until the end of March. They didn’t teach us much. Just like last year, we were asked to practice a ‘left-right’ marching, and taught how to make and break up a line like soldiers. The only difference [from the previous training] was that we had to pay for our uniforms,” said one of the training participants from Hakha.
Participants said that they were threatened with ‘monetary fine or other penalty’ if they failed to attend the training and that some locals were travelling to the nearby villages in order to avoid it.
Van Biak Thang