Last week, Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews told the UN General Assembly that tens of thousands of military troops are being moved into the north and northwest regions of Myanmar to silence unrest and anti-junta fighting. On top of this foreshadowing of greater conflict and violence, he shared findings that bespoke probable war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the military regime.
In the midst of their attempts to bolster their presence in these restive areas, the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, is running low on recruits. After months of sustained losses, both in soldiers as well as military morale, they are seeking to regain their numbers by calling on retired soldiers. These soldiers are offered their old salary and position if they rejoin, as well as their continued pension. The offer to return to service is only given to certain soldiers; those who supported the National League for Democracy were told they did not need to apply.
Ex-Captain Khant Ko, who defected from the army in order to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), told MyanmarNOW, “They are up against the entire population and have only a handful of supporters… They know that these retired soldiers will be the easiest to recruit.” Military training classes have had to be consistently postponed for lack of recruits, showing how strongly the people oppose the current military rule.
Members of rebel militias told MyanmarNOW that they will not hesitate to fire on older soldiers; all will simply be seen as working for the dictatorship, and fought against like any other enemy. Andrews told the UN, “We should all be prepared, as the people in this part of Myanmar are prepared, for even more mass atrocity crimes. I desperately hope that I am wrong.”
1. Pray that God gives these retired soldiers godly wisdom and contentment as they consider these recruitment offers.
2. Pray for all mass atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Myanmar to come to an end.