Since March, TNLA troops have forcibly recruited both men and women in Mantong Township in Kyaukme District of northern Shan State. The TNLA typically recruits young men to be soldiers, but if a family does not have any sons then daughters will be recruited to be soldiers.
Local people report that parents have been abducted and held hostage in instances when a family’s adult sons or daughters are away from home and unable to be recruited. In these cases, the TNLA soldiers say they will release the parent only when their son or daughter comes to serve in the TNLA.
On 2 April, TNLA soldiers abducted the father from a family living in a village in Mantong Township because his 21-year-old daughter was away from home working Laukkai town. The TNLA soldiers told the family that if his daughter came to serve as a soldier they would release her father. The father was formerly a TNLA soldier.
“TNLA soldiers recruited new soldiers in our village. In one family, the daughter was working in another town, so they abducted the father and said they will release the father only if his daughter joined the TNLA. Now she is serving in the TNLA and her father has been released,” a man is who close to the family told SHAN.
This cases represents an on-going pattern of techniques used to force local young people to serve in the TNLA.
“They abduct older family members if the adult children are not present in the family home. Even when family members offer to give money instead of having their adult children recruited into the TNLA, the TNLA soldiers reply that they do not want money but they want people to serve in the TNLA,” a local resident told SHAN.
There are many ethnic armed organizations active across Shan State, and local people face the potential of forced recruitment and taxation/extortion by these organizations every day.
“They do not have any discipline for new soldier recruitment, they even recruit students. They say that one person from every family must serve in the TNLA. I think they should have a new soldier recruitment policy and a disciplined recruitment process. At the moment, people are being forcibly recruited by the TNLA,” a male local Manton Township resident told SHAN.